HEALTH

Texas man infected with flesh-eating bacteria at beach – second case in June

  • MIAMI, FL - APRIL 30:  Paramedics Bruno Fernandini (L) and Jonathan Paz hook a patient up to an EKG machine at the University of Miami Hospital's Emergency Department on April 30, 2012 in Miami, Florida. As people wait to hear from the United States Supreme Court on its decision of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, some experts say that if the act is overturned, a decision expected later this year, people that now have insurance will no longer be eligible and will be kicked back into a system where the emergency department is their first visit when sick.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 30: Paramedics Bruno Fernandini (L) and Jonathan Paz hook a patient up to an EKG machine at the University of Miami Hospital's Emergency Department on April 30, 2012 in Miami, Florida. As people wait to hear from the United States Supreme Court on its decision of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, some experts say that if the act is overturned, a decision expected later this year, people that now have insurance will no longer be eligible and will be kicked back into a system where the emergency department is their first visit when sick. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)  (2012 Getty Images)

  • This image provided by UTMB-Galveston shows a scanning electron microscopic image of WT (wild type) Aeromonas hydrophila strain SSU, the bacteria responsible for the flesh-eating disease that is usually caused by a strep germ. Georgia grad student Aimee Copeland is fighting a life-threatening flesh-eating disease, and doctors are calling her case very rare. The infection occurred after she gashed her leg in a Georgia river May 1, 2012, after a zip line accident. (AP Photo/UTMB-Galveston, Ashok K. Chopra, Ph.D., and Dr. Leon Bromberg)

    This image provided by UTMB-Galveston shows a scanning electron microscopic image of WT (wild type) Aeromonas hydrophila strain SSU, the bacteria responsible for the flesh-eating disease that is usually caused by a strep germ. Georgia grad student Aimee Copeland is fighting a life-threatening flesh-eating disease, and doctors are calling her case very rare. The infection occurred after she gashed her leg in a Georgia river May 1, 2012, after a zip line accident. (AP Photo/UTMB-Galveston, Ashok K. Chopra, Ph.D., and Dr. Leon Bromberg)  (AP Photo/UTMB-Galveston, Ashok K. Chopra, Ph.D., and Dr. Leon Bromberg)

A Father's Day vacation turned into a nightmare for one Texas family. 

Adrian Ruiz and his family took a trip to Rockport and got what doctors believe may be a flesh-eating bacteria.

Over the weekend, the Hays County resident was running a fever and woke up with a rash on his leg. A few days later, he ended up in the ICU at Seton Hays not knowing if his leg will be amputated. “I’m fearful for him, possibly losing his leg. I don't want to think that's going to happen, and I told him we are going to be very positive,” said his wife La Shelle.’

It is believed that Adrian got the bacteria while swimming at Port Aransas. Saturday night he started feeling sick. 

“When he told me at 3 o’clock in the morning that his ankle was burning, he was already running a fever, I was like 'something's not right',” La Shelle said.

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Sunday morning Ruiz went to urgent care, where the doctor diagnosed him with cellulitis and also gave them a scary warning. 

“Once the doctor looked at his foot and said, ‘I think this is cellulitis, but I know that you're telling me that you've been at the beach water. I am not trying to alarm you or scare you, but there has been flesh-eating bacteria that's been reported in Galveston (and) Port O’Connor.’”

The family made their way home back to Buda, and Ruiz’s leg started blistering. Monday afternoon he was admitted to the ICU at Seton Hays, with the diagnosis of Vibrio Vulnificus, a flesh damaging bacteria.

Earlier in June, a Houston man had to get his leg amputated after getting a similar infection when he went to a beach in Galveston. 

“It's something that happens when the water tends to heat up our Gulf Coast, you'll see stories about it in Galveston, Corpus or Padre," said Dr. Fausto Meza, who works at Seton Hays.

"The warning is, if you have a wound, an open cut or something that is susceptible to infection, and if you're immune-compromised, you don't have the best health, and you're out in the water, sea water in particular, what they say 'brackish' kind of water,” he said.

Ruiz's wife said beach-goers should be warned. “I think the cities need to post stuff on the beaches and let people know, because if we would have known there was flesh-eating bacteria that was there, we wouldn't have entered,” she said.
              
But despite all of this she’s said she’s grateful it wasn’t worse. “He's going to live, that's the main thing. So at least he has life still that's the biggest thing of all. We believe in God, and we just ask people to pray because that's what will get him through,” she said.

Dr. Meza wants to clarify that Vibrio is not an antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA. Ruiz is on four different antibiotic IV drips and doctors are hopeful they can still save his leg.
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