A 42-year-old man from Buda, Texas has been hospitalized after he was infected by the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, infamously known as the flesh-eating bacteria. The man, identified as Adrian Ruiz, is believed to have contracted the infection, which is also known in medical terms as Necrotizing fasciitis after spending time with his family on the eve of Father’s Day. Ruiz had gone to Port Aransas, located near Corpus Christi last week, where he is believed to have contracted the bacteria.
After returning home the same day, he noticed a rash on his leg which was later accompanied by high fever and a severe headache. The very next day, he was admitted to the Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle, where a series of tests confirmed that he had contracted the dreaded flesh-eating bacteria. While the current condition of Ruiz is not known, USA Today reports that Ruiz is fighting to keep his leg from being amputated. This was also confirmed by a family member who issued a statement on Thursday.
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Incidentally, this is the second report of an infection by flesh-eating bacteria in Texas within two weeks. Another Texas man, 50-year-old, Brian Parrott of Jacinto City was also infected by flesh-eating bacteria resulting in the amputation of his right leg. Brian was being treated at the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital where doctors tried everything they could to save his leg. Following the first surgery to amputate the affected leg, a second surgery was performed on Brian to ensure that the infection does not spread to other parts of the body.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) June 22, 2016
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the condition known as Necrotizing fasciitis caused by the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria tends to spread very quickly. The bacteria is very fast acting and almost immediately after infection, begins to kill the soft tissue present near the infected area. In case quick proper diagnosis and further treatment using antibiotics is not performed, the condition could end up being life-threatening. In many cases, this would also lead to an amputation which is seen by doctors as a last ditch attempt to stop the infection from spreading.
The CDC also adds that while flesh-eating bacteria do pose a threat, there is little chance of a healthy individual with a strong immune system getting infected. Brian Parrott for example, was a diabetic, a condition that tends to weaken our immune system. They also add that the chances of an infection further diminish if you practice good hygiene and proper care is taken of any wound that could lead to an infection. It is currently not known if Ruiz was suffering from any of these conditions.
Authorities add that the flesh-eating bacteria is known to naturally occur in warm coastal waters. The chances of infection are higher if an open wound is exposed to the bacteria-infested waters of lakes and beaches near coastal areas.
The U.S. sees more than 100 deaths each year caused by various Vibrio strains of bacteria. An estimated 80,000 people are affected by the infection. However, not all strains of Vibrio bacteria cause Necrotizing fasciitis. In 2014, there were more than 124 Necrotizing fasciitis infections reported out of which 18 people are known to have died.
Meanwhile, Ruiz’s family members regret their decision to get into the bacteria-infected water on the day of their trip. Lashelle Ruiz, Adrian’s wide told KXAN-TV the following;
“If we would have known that there was flesh-eating bacteria in the water, we wouldn’t have gotten in.”
She added that the family had also visited Rockport, 15 miles away from Port Aransas on the same day for a fishing trip. However, none of the family members entered the water there.
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