Flesh-eating bacteria returns to Texas beaches

·2-min read
The beach in Galveston, Texas. Residents are encouraged to take caution due to the return of flesh-eating bacteria lurking in the water. (Google)
The beach in Galveston, Texas. Residents are encouraged to take caution due to the return of flesh-eating bacteria lurking in the water. (Google)

The return of the flesh-eating bacteria is not the name of a bad sci-fi movie, but rather an accurate description of what is happening along the coast in Galveston, Texas.

According to News4 San Antonio, a health expert in Galveston is cautioning locals that the flesh-eating bacteria is back.

Over the last few years, numerous stories out of Texas have gone viral, all following a similar pattern; someone gets an innocuous cut or similarly penetrative injury, then they are exposed to saltwater, and then they later report suffering from a horrible flesh-eating bacteria.

Darrell Dunn's story is no different.

Mr Dunn told News4 that after a golf cart accident crushed his leg and sent him to the hospital, he was sent home with a wound that had not been properly cleaned out.

He recalls still having sand on his leg near where the wound was located. Unfortunately for him, the bacteria – which likely entered his wound at the time of injury – had already began to infect him.

It has been two months since his accident, and Mr Dunn is still undergoing treatments for the bacteria.

In severe cases or if left untreated, the flesh-eating bacteria – called Vibrio vulnificus – can result in amputations or even death.

Mr Dunn suggested that parents in the region be mindful of any scrapes they see on their children.

“Just be more mindful if your kids do get scraped with a seashell or something,” Mr Dunn said. “Just actually take it more serious because it could cause more problems down the line. Cause it sure has caused me more problems.”

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms of a Vibrio infection may manifest between 12 and 72 hours after initial exposure.

Dr Alfred Scott Lea, a Professor of Infectious Disease at UTMB Galveston, called the infection “extremely aggressive”.

“Its a serious infection,” he said. “The worst thing it's so rapidly progressive it will pop up and kill a person within 24 hours if you are not careful.”

According to Dr Lea, there are approximately six to eight cases of flesh-eating bacteria in Galveston every year. There have already been two cases reported in the city the county this year.

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