Angel Perez, 60, of Millville, New Jersey, is in critical condition after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria that has left not only all four of his limbs at risk but his life as well. His daughter, Dilena Perez-Dilan, has been acting on his behalf relaying information regarding his condition, and how this tragedy happened to her father to the press on his behalf. According to Dilan, her father was out crabbing off Matt’s Landing on the Maurice River when he contracted the bacteria that he is now trying to survive.
According to information provided by Dilan that appeared in USA Today, her father had gone to Matt’s Landing to crab, so he was in water that often came up above his knees, and he was also bending over and working his gear, so his arms were also in the water above his elbows at times. Those were the points of the greatest exposure to the bacteria, and also the first affected areas to raise concern that something was wrong. When he was taken to Cooper University Hospital, where he is still in intensive care, doctors pieced together the likely problem quickly, and then lab work confirmed that he was indeed infected with Vibrio necrotizing fasciitis.
“He is in critical condition. The infection has spread to his blood… his skin; you can see it spreading from his feet all the way above his kneecap. His forearms are black in color; they have blisters, cuts and sores.”
Ocean City Patch reported that county and state officials have confirmed that Vibrio necrotizing fasciitis can be found in those waters during the summer. Vibrio is generally contracted in humans from either eating undercooked seafood or in some cases from being in salt water in certain areas during the summer months. The vast majority of 80,000 or so Vibrio cases in the U.S. each year come from ingesting undercooked seafood. Only about 100 reported cases result in a fatality.
According to Noah Hetzell of the health department, Matt’s Landing is not a regulated area, which means the health department cannot close the area to public access.
“We can only recommend that residents avoid entering brackish waters, especially if they have are immunocompromised or have open wounds or sores on their body.”
Larry Hajna of the New Jersey EPA said the appearance of harmful bacteria in the water is not in and of itself an indication of poor water quality. He further explained that this is naturally occurring phenomena that take place under the right circumstances, but did not comment on any particular bacteria types. As of now, all agencies advise avoiding the area. Yet if anyone decides not to and notices a rash, swelling, or discoloration of the skin, please immediately seek medical help.