A Corpus Christi woman had a painful infection that her doctor believes is a carnivorous bacterium after she went shark on Oct.2 at Padre Island National Seashore.
Carol Cox, 57, told mySA.com that she was helping a friend unhook a fishing line from a 5-foot blacktip shark when she was cut. As she sat on the shark, it hit her ankles and brushed her skin, she said.
Cox, who has been fishing since she was four, said she washed the cuts with clean fresh water, as she has done many times when she got scratches from the hobby. However, 10 hours later, she said that her ankles were throbbing and very red, especially her left foot.
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Cox said she visited a CVS clinic on October 5 and was supposed to treat what she thought was a rash with antibiotics. The next day, Cox said the infection on her left foot had worsened and became more painful.
“It was an extremely painful feeling,” she said. “My foot was swollen and I couldn’t walk. It feels like someone is punching you in the shin with a baseball bat.”
On October 7, Cox visited her GP who told her she believed it was necrotizing fasciitis, a vibrio infection known as a carnivorous disease. Because she was already on antibiotics, the doctor couldn’t test Cox for Vibrio.
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Gregory Buck, Associate Professor of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, told mySA.com in July that Vibrio thrives naturally in marine waters. However, the presence of the bacteria increases in summer when the water is warmer.
There are around 15 to 35 cases in Texas each year, with a peak between April and October, Buck said.
Cox received more antibodies and is still healing from the infection. She noticed the pain was less severe, but said she never wanted to experience it again.
“The biggest eye opening problem for me was how painful it really was,” she said. “Fortunately, we got it early enough and could take care of it before I lost a limb or worse.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, necrotizing fasciitis is a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly around the body and can be fatal. Early symptoms can include a fever, severe pain, and an area of skin that is red, warm, or swollen that spreads quickly. It includes pain beyond the infected area of skin.
Buck said there is no surefire way to prevent necrotizing fasciitis infection. However, basic hygiene practices can reduce the risk, e.g. B. frequent washing of hands with soap and immediate treatment of wounds, even smaller ones.
Priscilla Aguirre is a general affairs reporter for MySA.com | [email protected] | @CillaAguirre