Lake Charles, LA. — A Louisiana man is recovering in hospital after becoming infected with a flesh-eating bacteria.
Experts say the bacteria is appearing earlier than usual this year and are warning beachgoers to be careful.
“This infection is something that will turn from a fun day at the beach to an extremely painful wound within hours,” says Dr. Stephen Castleberry, a surgeon at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. “The night can be sepsis and septic shock and aggressive therapy to try to do what you can to save life and tissue.”
That’s exactly what happened to Jessie Abshire, who is now recovering in the ICU after contracting flesh-eating bacteria while scratching in Cameron Parish.
“Not long in the water either,” said Belinda Abshire, his wife. “We were there for a few hours at most.”
Belinda and their daughter, Amanda Savoie, share Jessie’s story in the hopes that it can save even one person from the suffering he has. They called it a near-death experience and said it can happen to anyone.
“He’s getting better every day,” Savoie said. “We have a long road ahead of us.”
“Who would have thought we would have gone scratching in ankle-deep water and two days later you were almost 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 doctors are most concerned about skin infections at this time of year.
“What we’re concerned about is someone who is immunocompromised, so even just plain diabetes, mild liver disease when patients don’t know about it, and any break in the skin, even a few days old tattoo, a small cut that you don’t even know ahead of time.” recognize,” he said.
Castleberry said the bacteria appears about four to six weeks earlier than what he’s seen in past summers and advises people to take extra care if they go to the beach this summer.
“Any time you’re in brackish water, Gulf water, during these 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 grazes with soap and water immediately if you get a rock scratch or wound from a fishing hook or net.
If a wound becomes painful, always seek immediate medical attention.
“When in doubt, go see someone quickly,” Castleberry said.