Protect yourself from flesh eating bacteria - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Protect yourself from flesh eating bacteria

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

Tuesday, an Ocean Springs family laid to rest their beloved son, brother, and uncle. Nick Duvernay died just days after coming into contact with the flesh eating bacteria Vibrio vulnificus, during a fishing trip in the Gulf.

Dr. David Spencer, Sr. has seen a lot of Vibrio vulnificus over the years. 

"It is a saltwater surviving bacteria, so saltwater does not damage the bacteria, it actually lives in saltwater, so we see it in all of our estuaries," Spencer explained. 

Duvernay's family said he was likely more susceptible to the bacteria because he already had a lowered immune system. Dr. Spencer those with liver problems and other factors are more at risk.

"We also see it in patients who have immuno-suppressive medications or are immuno-suppressed for other reasons." 

But Spencer said that perfectly healthy people are not entirely safe, especially if you enter the water with an open wound, or get injured in the water.

"Probably with a deep puncture wound within the saltwater environment, there is probably a higher risk that someone who is not immuno-suppressed may have higher risk of picking this up." 

Vibrio works fast.  That's why you need to seek treatment just as fast.  

"This disease process can become near full limit within 12 hours to 72 hours after exposure," Spencer explained. 

And if you don't act fast, it can be deadly.  

"Once it gets into the blood stream, the mortality is at least 50 percent, if not greater."

Right now, the risk is greater as well. 

"We do see a spike in some of these infections during the summertime because, first of all, the water is warmer. And second of all, there are more people that are involved in water sports and working in the water during that time," the doctor said. 

So, how can you protect yourself?  

"The best choice is if you have an open wound is not to participate in water sports within the marine environment." 

Again, medical professionals stress that if you start feeling bad and are running a fever shortly after exposure to saltwater, get to a doctor or the emergency room immediately. Treatment includes receiving heavy doses of antibiotics and fluids.

There is good news, as well. Despite the recent cases on the coast, it's still relatively rare, with only 16 cases reported in the state in 2012.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • Protect yourself from flesh eating bacteriaMore>>

  • Two survivors of flesh eating bacteria share their stories

    Two survivors of flesh eating bacteria share their stories

    Several weeks ago, Rene Olier was on a simple fishing trip, south of Cat Island in Louisiana waters. Today, he's walking into the Wound Care Center at Memorial Hospital, his right arm amputated at theMore >>
    It's called Vibrio Vulnificus. That's the medical name. Most of us know it as the deadly flesh eating bacteria disease. Just this past week, a 38 year old Ocean Springs man died four days after becoming infected. But it is survivable, if you get quick treatment. Two men recently did just that, and are alive to tell their stories.More >>
  • NewsMore>>

  • Motorcyclist injured after Longview wreck on Loop 281, road shut down

    Motorcyclist injured after Longview wreck on Loop 281, road shut down

    Thursday, May 25 2017 2:17 PM EDT2017-05-25 18:17:57 GMT

    A motorcyclist was transported to the hospital Thursday after a collision in Longview. About 1 p.m., officers were called to the 5000 block of West Loop 281, near Kelly Tractor, in response to a crash involving a motorcyclist and a truck hauling a trailer.  According to Longview Police Department Sgt. Shane McCarter, the cyclist hit the side of the truck. Details of the crash were not immediately available. Officials say the road is shut down and drivers are encouraged to...

    More >>

    A motorcyclist was transported to the hospital Thursday after a collision in Longview. About 1 p.m., officers were called to the 5000 block of West Loop 281, near Kelly Tractor, in response to a crash involving a motorcyclist and a truck hauling a trailer.  According to Longview Police Department Sgt. Shane McCarter, the cyclist hit the side of the truck. Details of the crash were not immediately available. Officials say the road is shut down and drivers are encouraged to...

    More >>
  • Afternoon Weather at your Fingertips

    Afternoon Weather at your Fingertips

  • New tornado relief agency in East Texas

    New tornado relief agency in East Texas

    Thursday, May 25 2017 2:00 PM EDT2017-05-25 18:00:45 GMT

    There is a new agency to provide long-term care to those who have been affected by tornadoes. The Catholic Charities Diocese of Tyler will be offering recovery assistance to the many tornado victims.

    More >>

    There is a new agency to provide long-term care to those who have been affected by tornadoes. The Catholic Charities Diocese of Tyler will be offering recovery assistance to the many tornado victims.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly