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Local man contracts Vibrio, nearly loses life

As temperatures heat up, the beaches are a favorite place to cool off. But there can be a danger many forget about around this time of the year.

One local man is fighting for his life in the hospital after he came down with a flesh-eating bacteria. He said he contracted it in the waters along Shoreline near Waters Edge Park.

Corpus Christi resident Adam Perez says he was putting his feet into the sand and the water, and he ended up in the hospital. His doctors told him he had contracted Vibrio.

“I was just moving my toes in the sand and stuff. I didn’t get inside the water all the way,” Perez.

Four surgeries later, Perez is looking at a lengthy recovery after he believes he contracted a flesh-eating bacteria.

“Without those four surgeries, they told me I would have lost my leg, or lost my life,” Perez said.

Scientists at the Harte Research Institute said while the threat of vibrio is more prevalent in the heat of the summer.

The bacteria is most likely to affect people with suppressed immune systems or open wounds seriously. The consequences and symptoms can be severe.

Dr. Michael Wetz, with the Harte Research Institute, said, “Anything from skin infections to amputations, the vibrio, when you get it, it can spread rapidly in a matter of hours.”

It’s a threat for beachgoers that local researchers are dedicated to finding the answers to.

Dr. Wetz said, “We’ve been doing work in the Florida Keys, and we’ve found that when you get Saharan dust that comes in from Africa and drops in the water, within twelve hours the vibrio bacteria population spike by orders of magnitude.”

Perez says he will not have to have his leg amputated, but is waiting for skin grafts to repair the damage.

The bacteria can enter the body through open wounds or by eating raw or undercooked shellfish.

Researchers say the threat of the bacteria is no reason to steer clear of the beach

The symptoms of vibrio include rash, swollen skin, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

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