A Maryland man nearly lost his leg and his life due to a flesh-eating bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus, which is typically found in brackish waters like the Chesapeake Bay.This is a rare, but definite risk in the Bay and in similar waters. I first heard of Vibrio vulnificus back when I was chiseling my Masters thesis onto stone tablets, so it's not some new emerging threat. It's been here all along, and only rarely causing disease.
“We were just canoeing, kayaking, fishing, crabbing, things you do when you’re on vacation,” Rodney Donald told FOX 5.
Donald couldn't have imagined that vacation to the Chesapeake Bay would nearly cost him his leg and life.
That same morning, he also fell and scraped his leg. It turns out that tiny scrape made him more susceptible to vibrio vulnificus, an aggressive bacteria that causes a fast-spreading infection.
“It likes salty water, not so much ocean water, more brackish water, but you can find it in the ocean as well,” said Dr. Gary Simon, an infectious diseases expert with George Washington Medical Faculty Associates. “It’s known to occur in the Chesapeake Bay.”
I rarely think about it. In a life around the water, I've frequently been cut, stuck by fish spines and hooks, scratched and abraded myself, and rarely suffered anything more than the usual healing patterns. I do make a point of cleaning such small wounds well (when convenient).
However, it can happen. A friend of ours suffered an infection of Vibro and other bacteria after falling out of a kayak and scraping on some rocks.