Florida man contracts flesh-eating bacteria

SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WVLT/CBS) — CBS News reported a Florida man contracted flesh-eating bacteria without even touching water.

Tyler King was at work in Santa Rosa Beach when he said he noticed his left bicep starting to swell, CBS reported.

“When I was a little bit younger, I probably would have tried to tough it out. Well, that would have been the worst thing that I could do,” King said. “If I had gone to sleep … and had woke up with it at the rate it was spreading, I might not have an arm right now.”

CBS reported King had contracted vibrio, a bacteria commonly found in warm, brackish water. When exposed to an open wound, it can cause a skin infection. If left untreated, it can be deadly.

King said he owns a water sports business and said he did not directly touch water the day he was infected. He doesn’t know how he contracted the bacteria, but he considers himself lucky.

“Waters are getting warmer and the bacteria love warmer water, so we’re all at higher risk,” explained CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus.

CBS reported the key to stopping flesh-eating bacteria is to catch and treat infections with antibiotics quickly. Older people with medical conditions like diabetes, cancer or immune deficient are more susceptible.

If you get a cut in the water, clean it with hand sanitizer immediately and keep monitoring the cut area for any signs of infection like swelling or redness.

Copyright 2019 WVLT News via CBS News. All rights reserved.