A Texas man who died last week of a flesh-eating bacteria infection has been identified as a carpenter who was helping to repair homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Josue Zurita, 31, was described as a hard-working and kind man by grieving friends and family members, KPRC reported.
“It’s unbelievable,” Brenda Avalos, a family friend, told the news outlet. “We still don’t accept that he’s not here.”
Zurita reportedly contracted the necrotizing fasciitis through a wound on his arm, and his condition quickly deteriorated, KPRC reported. Health officials believe the bacteria entered his body from contaminated floodwaters and debris left by the hurricane.
“It spread up his arm and he went to UTMB on October 10, and unfortunately, despite the efforts of doctors, he died on (Oct. 16),” Dr. Philip Keiser, of the Galveston County Local Health Authority, said according to KPRC. “This is a real tragedy. He was very unlucky and very unfortunate.”
A 77-year-old woman who died in September was also determined to be a victim of flesh-eating bacteria related to Hurricane Harvey. Nancy Reed reportedly fell while in her son’s flooded home and cut her arm. Her injury became infected and she died on Sept. 15, with the Harris County medical examiner’s office determining flood-related necrotizing faciitis as the cause.
J.R. Atkins, a former medic and firefighter who hopped in a kayak to check on neighbors during rescue efforts also contracted the bacterial infection, but has since made a recovery.
A GoFundMe page was started on behalf of Zurita's family.