Vibrio Vulnificus

Vibrio Vulnificus
A 78-year-old man in Texas managed to contract a flesh-eating bacteria while he was out on a boat fishing — with no visible open wounds or compromised immune system — and was dead less than two weeks later, his daughter says.

"I'm still a little shocked and in disbelief," explained Kim Sebek, daughter of San Marcos resident Jerry Sebek, who died on June 25.

"Dad was a wonderful family man who loved to hunt and fish and do things out in the water," she told mySA.com. "We've been coming here (Turtle Bay) for years and this is just an unfortunate thing that happened."

According to Kim, Sebek never swam in the water and had no visible cuts on his body at the time.

He was out on a boat fishing in Turtle Bay, near Palacios, when he somehow contracted the deadly Vibrio bacteria — which causes Vibriosis — on June 13.

Sebek, who is described in his obituary as a longtime insurance salesman, had been vacationing with his family, and they reportedly noticed he wasn't feeling well after the outing.

Displaying all the signs of vibriosis — including chills, vomiting and disorientation — Sebek was rushed to a local doctor and then the hospital, where he was diagnosed. The septuagenarian died less than two weeks later as a result of the infection. He's the second Texas resident to die this year after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria, according to officials.

While in the hospital, doctors had to amputate Sebek's leg and arm — the latter of which was "skinned like a deer" on account of his infection, his sister said.

He also had to be placed into an induced coma.

"If you don't feel good, get help immediately," urged Kim Sebek.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes the vibrio bacteria as a "naturally" living bacteria found "in certain coastal waters." The vibriosis infection that it causes can spread very quickly, but it's usually contracted through eating raw and undercooked shellfish or open wounds.

"People with compromised immune systems, especially those with chronic liver disease" are also more likely to get vibriosis, according to the CDC.

Sebek's death is just the latest in a long string of flesh-eating bacteria cases to be reported in recent weeks. The CDC says roughly 80% of vibriosis infections occur between May and October when water temperatures are at their warmest.

"CDC estimates that vibriosis causes 80,000 illnesses each year in the United States," the agency writes on its website. "Most people with a mild case of vibriosis recover after about 3 days with no lasting effects. However, people with a Vibrio vulnificus infection can get seriously ill and need intensive care or limb amputation. About 1 in 5 people with this type of infection die, sometimes within a day or two of becoming ill."