N.J. man infected with flesh-eating bacteria while crabbing, could lose limbs

Modesto Morganelli
Luglio 11, 2018

A New Jersey father is fighting for his life after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria infection while crabbing at Matt's Landing in Maurice River.

Infections caused by Vibrio bacteria can enter "through an existing wound and ... cause other complications such as necrotizing fasciitis [an infection causing tissue death], which he unfortunately got", Megan Sheppard, a health officer with the Cumberland County Department of Health, told KYW.

Perez-Dilan told KYW that the "choice is life or limbs, and I've heard that multiple times". It's in a group commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria.

"It turned brown, blackish in color", Dilena Perez-Dilan, Perez's daughter, told ABC 7.

For Perez, the infection spread quickly - taking just hours for his limbs to swell and become discolored. Anyone with liver disease or a weakened immune system should also avoid eating raw shellfish because the bacteria can also be spread through food.

But the New Jersey health department says if anyone has open cuts or scrapes, it's best to stay out of brackish water, according to WPVI. The father is now in the ICU at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, NJ, according to NJ Advance Media. If he doesn't, they may have to amputate at least three of his limbs. Perez can still breath on his own and communicate with his family.

Vibrio vulnificus infections are rare - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sees only about 200 cases a year, according to the agency - but severe. Brackish water is a salty combination of fresh and seawater often found in places like the Chesapeake Bay where the ocean's salt water mixes with fresh water.

"It was swelling so much, it looked like a prosthetic", Perez-Dilan said. They do say that Mr. Perez is in good spirits. "He's just happy to have a second chance". The bacteria is more risky to those with compromised immune systems, like Perez, who has Parkinson's disease. We think water is safe. "That's why they do use boots - people use boots and covers to protect themselves", Perez-Dilan told WPVI.

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