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July 11, 2018

Man contracted flesh-eating bacterial infection in this South Jersey river

And now he's fighting for his life

Odd News Infections
04072018_resistant_bacteria_CDC. Source/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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A South Jersey man contracted a flesh-eating bacteria while he was crabbing in South Jersey's Maurice River that is now threatening his life. 

Angel Perez, 60, of Millville, Cumberland County, noticed swelling and pain in his right leg late last week. Then he broke out in blisters and in hallucinations. Perez remains at Cooper University Hospital, where his skin is still raw, scarred and red, and in critical condition.


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“The choice is life or limbs,” Perez's daughter, Dilena Perez-Dilan, told CBS Local

“The sores started showing up on his legs and he started hallucinating.”

The bacteria is called Vibrio vulnificus, a rare infection typically contracted in brackish or salt water, and is most common between May and October in warmer ocean temperatures. The disease can also be contracted from eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters, according to the Center for Disease Control. People with compromised immune systems are more likely to contract it — but anyone can get this kind of infection.

According to the CDC, about 1 in 7 people with a Vibrio vulnificus wound infection dies, typically within a day or two of becoming ill, and limb amputations are common.

Perez, a native of Puerto Rico, came to the U.S. in the 1980s and brought with him a knack for handiwork and fixing up cars, The Washington Post reported. But after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2006, he could no longer use his hands the way he used to. So, he threw himself into his new hobby: crabbing. 

“He’s praising God,” Perez-Dilan told the Post. “And he's saying, 'I'm going to fight. I’m going to fight. I’m going to fight.' ”