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  1. #1
    Senior Member WhatMattersMost's Avatar
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    Flesh Eating Bacteria in the Gulf Of Mexico

    Man fights flesh-eating bacteria contracted in Gulf of Mexico

    (7/18/07 - HOUSTON) - A Nacogdoches man was in critical but stable condition after three surgeries aimed at saving him from a flesh-eating bacteria that infected him during a swim off the coast of Galveston County.


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    Steve Gilpatrick, 58, was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, a tissue-destroying disease caused by a bacterium called Vibrio vulnificus, when he took ill three days after swimming during a July 8 fishing trip at Crystal Beach.

    Gilpatrick's physician, Dr. David Herndon, the chief of burn services and professor of surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, said Tuesday the situation is life-threatening because the infection spread to Gilpatrick's blood. Gilpatrick is suffering from multiple organ failure and doctors are trying to save his leg.

    "I've heard of flesh-eating bacteria, but it always seemed so far away," said his wife, Linda Gilpatrick. "It's not. It's here."

    The Gilpatricks regularly vacation in Galveston each summer, she said.

    According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the bacterium Vibrio vulnificus thrives during summer months in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

    Swimmers with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients or people with liver disease, are most at risk. A point of entry, such as an open wound, allows the bacteria into the body.

    Gilpatrick is diabetic and had an ulcer on his lower leg when he went swimming. His wife said he believed the sore was nearly healed. His leg became infected three days later and he began running a high fever.

    "We figured he had some type of infection," Linda Gilpatrick said. "But we didn't, of course, realize the extent of it."

    The CDC says most cases of Vibrio vulnificus occur along the Gulf Coast, but it's rare. In Texas, there were 54 cases of the infection reported in 2006, with at least 16 caused by water contact, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

    People can also be infected by eating contaminated seafood. Raw shellfish, particularly oysters, pose the greatest risk, according to CDC. The bacterium causes nearly all seafood-related deaths in the United States, the agency says.

    Symptoms of the disease include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. When it infects the bloodstream, it can cause fever, decreased blood pressure and blistering skin lesions.

    Dr. Robert Atmar, a professor and infectious disease specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said seafood-eaters should be aware of the infection risk, but healthy swimmers shouldn't worry.

    "I wouldn't alter (swimming) activities based on this, if you're otherwise healthy," he said. "People who have chronic illnesses like diabetes or steroids or cancer or chronic liver disease, if they have open wounds or sores, shouldn't go wading in the Gulf during the summer."

    (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  2. #2
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    Senior Member crazybird's Avatar
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    I read that this morning! I had no idea you could get it here from the gulf water or some seafood. Why isn't there more about this? My kids live in Florida and never heard word one about this. It's scarey!
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    I am sorry to say that the Texas Gulf Waters are not as clean as they should be.

    This may be a usual thing for the coast, but I wondered it it might have something to do with all the run off from Katrina - sediment and all that - or if it could be from runoff due to the flooding in the US.

    This scared me because we took our grandkids to the coast in April. So far, no side effects. The water was still pretty chilly at that time also.
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    I told my husband about this story and the first thing out of his mouth was "Its probably from Katrina!" Unfortunately Katrina probably plays a major role in this contamination.I fear we will have far reaching effects from that hurricane that will be cropping up for years.

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    I do think it is possible Katrina had an effect on this.

    Usually, if you have a sore, even a fungus, time spent in that salt water will help it heal.

    Also, I think many nasty things are being dumped where it will wash in on the Texas gulf. We have seen numerous needles, rubber gloves, even very heavy gloves that must have been used for something very dangerous.

    Once there was a huge catfish kill on the coast. No one seemed to know what caused it. Not being a 'coaster' myself, I don't know these things, but it just looked odd. It was only catfish and they were all the same size - just about eating size.

    After thinking about it, it dawned on me, what if some of those catfish farms either here in the US or SA had some kind of contamination in their farms and what do you do with tons and tons of dead catfish - especially if they might contaminate future 'herds'? What if they have something that would keep them from even being used in fertilizer, etc? You could load them on a boat, take them to a place they would float away.
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    Illegals!

    This is something ,but I think illegals have brought this in with them pouring into Texas daily.Katrina I doubt would be the problem since it hit from New Orleans to Florida.Have never heard of this problem before, so with the people not being screened they are bringing this from Central America more than likely.I would guess this is being brought from deals like CAFTA with millions of illegals arriving here all the time. The illegals better go soon with all the diseases they are bringing.
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    It's possible it came with illegals. I haven't heard any connection made - but then I don't hold my breathe for the health and safety of Americans to have any standing with this government..
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    Senior Member 4thHorseman's Avatar
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    It's possible it came with illegals. I haven't heard any connection made - but then I don't hold my breathe for the health and safety of Americans to have any standing with this government..[quote:sg5q2vwu]

    The cause of a lot of the high bacteria count along the Gulf Coast is local runoff, often from storm sewers, improperly maintained septic tanks, cess pools and such. It will affect certain areas along the beach, and leave others at a safe level. In this case, it could be from one of the sources I mentioned above, or it could be from large groups of illegals camping or creating shanty towns with poor sanitation that gets into the Gulf from run-off. While it is true that hurricanes could make this worse, I do not think this incident is from Katrina. Katrina was nearly two years ago, and the surge from Katrina was from New Orleans to the Florida Panhandle, with most of the coastal flooding and run-off concentrated between New Orleans and Biloxi, MS. This is a long stretch from Galveston. I was stationed at Keesler AFB in Mississippi in 1969 when Hurricane Camille struck, and there were graveyards washed out into the Gulf of Mexico, dead animals, dead fish, septic tank effluent, you name it. I would guess the same with Katrina. However, I never heard of anyone getting this type of infection along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Alabama or Florida in 1969, nor have I heard of it since Katrina.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4thHorseman
    It's possible it came with illegals. I haven't heard any connection made - but then I don't hold my breathe for the health and safety of Americans to have any standing with this government..[quote:2c0tityc]

    The cause of a lot of the high bacteria count along the Gulf Coast is local runoff, often from storm sewers, improperly maintained septic tanks, cess pools and such. It will affect certain areas along the beach, and leave others at a safe level. In this case, it could be from one of the sources I mentioned above, or it could be from large groups of illegals camping or creating shanty towns with poor sanitation that gets into the Gulf from run-off. While it is true that hurricanes could make this worse, I do not think this incident is from Katrina. Katrina was nearly two years ago, and the surge from Katrina was from New Orleans to the Florida Panhandle, with most of the coastal flooding and run-off concentrated between New Orleans and Biloxi, MS. This is a long stretch from Galveston. I was stationed at Keesler AFB in Mississippi in 1969 when Hurricane Camille struck, and there were graveyards washed out into the Gulf of Mexico, dead animals, dead fish, septic tank effluent, you name it. I would guess the same with Katrina. However, I never heard of anyone getting this type of infection along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Alabama or Florida in 1969, nor have I heard of it since Katrina.
    [/quote:2c0tityc]

    I have never heard of anyone getting it from the waters in the gulf - and as I said, I have seen the waters be very therapeutic for some conditions.

    The only other case I remember the details of, was a passenger on an airliner that got a paper cut which became infected. That certainly could have been from a passenger from another country carrying the bacteria.
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