A 78-year-old man in Texas managed to infect with a carnivorous bacterium while he was on a boat – with no visible open wounds or weakened immune system – and was less than two weeks later, his daughter says.
"I'm still a bit shocked and incredulous," said Kim Sebek, daughter of San Marcos-based Jerry Sebek, who died on June 25.
"Dad was a wonderful family man who loved hunting and fishing and doing things in the water," she told mySA.com. "We've been coming here for years (Turtle Bay), and this is just an unfortunate thing that has happened."
According to Kim, Sebek never swam in the water and had no visible cuts on his body at that time. [1
Sebek, described in his obituary as a longtime insurance agent, had vacationed with his family, and they reportedly realized that he did not feel well after the trip.
Sebek was taken to a local doctor with all signs of vibriosis – including chills, vomiting and disorientation – and then taken to the hospital. where he was diagnosed. The Septuagenarian died of the infection less than two weeks later. He is the second resident of Texas to die this year after being infected by a carnivorous bacterium.
While in the hospital, doctors had to amputate Sebek's leg and arm, the latter skinning like a deer because of his infection, his sister said.
He also had to be induced into an induced coma.
"If you do not feel well, get help right away," urged Kim Sebek.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes the Vibrio bacterium as a "naturally" living bacterium found "in certain coastal waters". The resulting vibrio infection may spread very rapidly, but is usually contracted by eating raw and uncooked shellfish or open wounds.
] "People with a weakened immune system, especially people with chronic liver disease" also suffer more from Vibriose, according to CDC.
Sebek's death is just the latest in a long line of carnivorous bacteria to be reported in recent weeks. According to the CDC, around 80% of vibrio infections occur between May and October when the water temperature is highest.
"CDC estimates that Vibriose causes 80,000 illnesses every year in the US," the agency writes on its website. "Most people with mild vibrations recover after about 3 days without any lasting effects. However, people with Vibrio vulnificus infection can become seriously ill and need intensive care or amputation of the limbs. About 1 in 5 people die with this type of infection, sometimes within a day or two after becoming ill. "