Flesh-Eating Bacteria Hits Southern Beachgoers

Several deaths reported

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 5, 2014 7:12 AM CDT

(Newser) – Not long after Florida warned beachgoers to be careful, new reports are emerging of tourists suffering from flesh-eating bacteria. The Weather Channel points to reports of at least three deaths in the state this year, while others have suffered from Vibrio Vulnificus in Alabama and Texas. A Georgia man ended up with sores on his leg and a fever after eating raw oysters at a restaurant in Orange Beach, Alabama; officials have warned against eating raw shellfish.

Diabetic and cancer survivor Lenny Buck, who was celebrating his 24th wedding anniversary, is due for a sixth surgery on his leg this week, WKRG reports. A woman from Austin, Texas, meanwhile, has contracted the disease after cutting her foot on an oyster in Galveston. "That oyster was like a razor blade, like a surgeon’s scalpel, it went straight through," Michelle O'Brien says, per KFOR. She was hospitalized for five days and says she would have lost her foot without antibiotics. The illness can be contracted by swimming in affected areas, and it can be fatal about half the time. (Read about another "nightmare bacteria" also on the rise in the South.)

An empty beach is shown in Orange Beach, Ala.
An empty beach is shown in Orange Beach, Ala.   (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
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