Man contracts flesh-eating bacteria while crabbing in NJ, may lose limbs

Angel Perez 60 complained of symptoms after returning from crabbing on July 2

Now, 60-year-old Perez is fighting for his life in the hospital and might have to his limbs amputated, his family told New Jersey Advance Media.

According to Washington Post, Angel Perez hunted for crabs at Matts Landing in New Jersey before sunrise last Monday, July 2.

Perez first noticed a rash on his leg, which quickly blistered and spread.

Perez is being treated with antibiotics in the intensive care unit at Cooper University Hospital. The only two treatment options are antibiotics or amputation, but it's still unknown whether any or all of his limbs will have to be amputated.

The bacteria that Perez contracted is called Vibrio necrotizing fasciitis.

There are approximately a dozen types of Vibrio bacteria. The potentially fatal condition can be caused by several types of bacteria, striking 1,000 people in the United States each year.

Anyone exposed to the bacteria can get infected, especially if they have open cuts or wounds.

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CDCSkin lesions caused by Vibrio vulnificus bacteria after Hurricane Katrina.

Perez had to have a leg surgically drained as an infectious disease doctor investigated the cause of the infection. Severe illnesses like Perez's are rare, but they are more likely among people with fragile immune systems.

Most of the 80,000 vibriosis infections that occur in the U.S. every year are less serious, according to the CDC. It's typically contracted after wading through saltwater or eating raw shellfish.

The National Institutes of Health says that while Vibrio bacteria "is one of the more infrequent causes of necrotizing fasciitis", it has a 26 percent mortality rate because it rapidly spreads and it is hard to diagnose.

Flesh-eating disease is one of the most common signs of Vibrio vulnificus, according to one study. The bacteria is even more unsafe for those people who have a weak immune system, just like Perez, who already has Parkinson's disease, making him more vulnerable to the deadly infection. But the bacteria usually causes infection at the site of a cut or wound regardless. He developed sores on his legs and began hallucinating, and his kidneys began shutting down. Spreading areas of discolored skin are a sign of the condition as well.

Perez-Dilan said her father is not breathing well but on his own and is only able to slightly move his right arm - yet is in good spirits.

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