2nd Texas Man Infected with Flesh-Eating Bacteria in 2 Weeks

Science & Medicine

A Buda, Texas, man has been hospitalized with a flesh-eating infection after spending a day at the beach with his family. He is the second Texas man to be sickened by the bacteria in two weeks.

Adrian Ruiz, 42, spent the day with his family in Port Aransas, Texas, near Corpus Christi, to celebrate Father’s Day. But that Sunday, Ruiz developed a fever and headache and noticed a rash on his leg.

Later in the week, the cause of the infection was identified as the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria. These flesh-eating bacteria have toxins that enter existing cuts and scrapes and kill skin cells. [1]

Ruiz was admitted to Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle, Texas, where, according to family members, “He is fighting to keep his leg.”

His wife, Lashelle Ruiz, told KXAN-TV:

“If we would have known that there was flesh-eating bacteria in the water, we wouldn’t have gotten in.” [2]

Vibrio lurks in salt water and brackish water. Though rare, an infection caused by the bacteria can be fatal. People with weakened immune systems and open wounds are most at risk. [3]

On 12 June 2016, 50-year-old Brian Parrott fell ill after spending the day at the beach with his family in Galveston, Texas. His ordeal began with vomiting, then his leg turned red, and he began noticing sores popping up. Eventually Parrott was transported to the hospital by ambulance, where surgeons had to amputate his right leg below the knee.

Source: 9News

The Jacinto City man was also diagnosed with an infection caused by Vibrio.

Parrott is diabetic, which has weakened his immune system, complicating his health issues related to the infection. [3]

Parrott’s mother, Donna Dailey, said:

“Doctors hope (the infection) is controlled, and they’re watching it real close. Every time it seems like it’s getting better, then something else happens.” [2]

Health officials say you should either avoid salt water or wear a waterproof bandage if you have an open wound. Warm water magnifies the risk of infection, as does diabetes.

In Parrott’s case, he did not immediately seek medical attention that might have allowed doctors to save his leg.

Last year, in Florida, a 26-year-old man died two days after becoming infected with Vibrio in Hernando County. At least 10 other people in the state were infected last summer, and two others died after either swimming at a beach or eating raw shellfish that was contaminated with the bacteria.

According to the CDC, over 900 cases of Vibrio (also called V. vulnificus) were reported between 1998 and 2006 in the Gulf Coast region, including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. [4]


[1] 9News

[2] Patch

[3] Houston Chronicle

[4] Newsweek