Lake Charles, The. — A Louisiana man recovers in hospital after being infected with flesh-eating bacteria.
Experts say the bacteria is appearing earlier this year than usual and are warning beachgoers to be careful.
“This infection is something that will go from a fun day at the beach to an extremely painful injury within hours,” said Dr Stephen Castleberry, a surgeon at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. “Overnight it can be sepsis and septic shock and aggressive therapy to try to do what you can to save lives and tissue.”
That’s exactly what happened to Jessie Abshire, who is now recovering in intensive care after contracting flesh-eating bacteria while crabbing in Cameron Parish.
“Not long in the water either,” said Belinda Abshire, his wife. “We were only there a few hours at most.”
Belinda and their daughter, Amanda Savoie, share Jessie’s story in hopes it saves one person from suffering like him. They called it a near death experience and said it could happen to anyone.
“He’s slowly improving every day,” Savoie said. “We have a long road ahead of us.”
“Who would have thought we went crabbing in ankle deep water and then two days later you’re almost dying in the hospital,” Belinda said.
This type of flesh-eating bacteria – vibrio vulnificus – can affect the intestinal tract. Doctors expect Jessie to recover from the infection, but not everyone is so lucky.
Castleberry said that at this time of year, doctors are most worried about skin infections.
“What we’re concerned about is anyone who’s immunocompromised, so even diabetes, mild liver disease when patients don’t know about it, and any tearing of the skin, even a tattoo that’s several days old, a little cut that you don’t even know. recognize in advance,” he said.
Castleberry said the bacteria is showing up about four to six weeks earlier than he’s seen in previous summers and advises people to be extra careful if heading to the beach this summer.
“Anytime you’re in brackish water, Gulf water, during those times of the month, it doesn’t hurt to wash up after you leave the beach,” Castleberry said. “If you have fresh wounds, don’t go in the water.”
He recommends washing any abrasions immediately with soap and water if you get scraped by rocks or hurt yourself with a hook or fishing net.
If a wound becomes painful, always seek medical attention immediately.
“When in doubt, go see someone fast,” Castleberry said.