Man could lose limbs after contracting flesh-eating bacteria in New Jersey waters

Man contracts flesh-eating bacteria while crabbing in NJ

She says hours after he went crabbing near the Maurice River on July 2, his right leg began to swell then quickly got worse.

A local family says their father is fighting for his life and his limbs.

Perez' family took him to the Cooper University Hospital, where he is listed in critical condition as doctors now work to save his four limbs, Fox 29 reported. The next day, he noticed swelling and scratches on his leg, according to WPIX.

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Representatives from the Cumberland County Department of Health could not immediately be reached by TIME for comment, but told NJ.com that this type of bacteria is known to exist in waters in New Jersey, especially in summertime.

Vibrio necrotizing fasciitis (VNF) is caused by Vibrio bacteria, which are found in coastal waters and multiply during the warm months, typically between May and October.

VNF is referred to as a flesh-eating bacteria because the infection results in tissue damage and death. Vibrio usually infects a person who eats raw or undercooked shellfish but can also sicken a person who has an open wound in salt water.

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His fingers and toes began turning dark brown and black, sores or blisters appeared on all his limbs.

Perez's family now wants to warn others. "The infection has spread to his blood.his skin; you can see it spreading from his feet all the way above his kneecap".

The disease kills about 100 people in the country each year and sickens another 80,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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"We've all been praying and I think our spirituality, our religion, has been allowing us to get through without going into a chaotic mess", said Perez-Dilan. "It was swelling, it was blistered", Perez-Dilan told WPVI. The bacteria is more unsafe to those with compromised immune systems, like Perez, who has Parkinson's disease. "Be careful. The water, as much as we need water, it can be poisonous". They do say that Mr. Perez is in good spirits. "That's why they do use boots - people use boots and covers to protect themselves", Perez-Dilan told WPVI.

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