The Dallas Morning News reported that Adrian Ortiz from Buda, Texas, was diagnosed with vibrio vulnificus which is a very aggressive bacteria that lives in warm seawater. Ortiz was the second man diagnosed with the problem last week as Brian Parrot had his right leg amputated due to a complication caused by the same infection.
Adrian Ortiz went to Port Aransas with his family to celebrate Father’s day. After only hours of bating in sea water, the man had already developed a visible rash, also known as cellulitis which is one of the main symptoms of vulnificus. The man started feeling worse by the minute, so his family decided to take him to the doctor.
The specialist quickly assessed the situation and identified the problem. These cases are very rare, but the authorities have already received 27 reports since the beginning of 2016.
Vibrio vulnificus is a pathogenic bacteria closely related to the one that causes cholera. It usually lives in the Mexican Gulf where the marine water has a warm temperature. The doctors have identified two main ways the little organism makes its way into a person’s body. The first one, and the most dangerous is the ingestion of undercooked oysters. Their flesh is usually filled with the bacteria, and people with weakened immune systems are defenseless against it. Since it does not change the color, smell or texture of the shellfish, it is completely impossible to detect without proper testing.
What is Vibrio Vulnificus and should you be concerned? http://t.co/fFRN4V7STm
— Jessica Firger (@jessfirger) June 26, 2015
When a person is infected via ingestion, they will present vomiting, diarrhea, and severe abdominal pain. If the patient also presents fever, increased heart rate or confusion, it might be a symptom of septicemia which is extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. 50% of the people that eat contaminated seafood, and get infected, die regardless medical attention.
Some people nicknamed it the ‘flesh-eating bacteria’
The bacteria is also known for living in warm sea water, especially in pond-like waters. Vibrio vulnificus uses the iron in the blood as a method of transportation, so if a person enters infected waters with an open wound, he or she will be infected immediately.
The most common symptom, in this case, is a red rash that appears in the first couple of hours after the organism entered the body. The rate of mortality, in this instance, is 25% which is still very high. Apparently, a lot of factors alter the results of an infection, but the most important are the time of detection.
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Once the body is infected, it will desperately try to get rid of the invader. The immune system usually launches an excessively aggressive attack on the bacteria also damaging healthy tissue. In consequence, an infected patient will present nasty ulcers that resemble wounds or “bites”, hence the flesh-eating nickname. When the problem gets to this point, doctors are usually forced to amputate the limb to save the patient’s life.
The increasing presence of the bacteria in Texan waters might be a direct consequence of climate change as sea waters are getting warmer, thus expanding vulnificus’ habitat. It is strongly recommended to people in the area to avoid eating a lot of seafood, especially oysters, or at least, cook it properly.
Source: Fox News