Reports: Lake Jackson man the latest 'flesh-eating' bacteria victim
GALVESTON – A Lake Jackson man is at least the fourth victim of "flesh-eating" bacteria on the Texas coast this year to be reported by the media.
Vince Chappell, 53, contracted vibriosis, an infection by the vibrio bacteria, after wading into the water at Aransas Pass to go fishing, his wife, Janie Chappell, told KTRK.
Health officials say the vibrio bacteria usually affects only those with weakened immune systems who have a wound that comes into contact with saltwater or brackish water, but Janie Chappell said her husband did not have a weakened immune system.
Her husband cut his foot as he waded into the water, she told KTRK.
Janie Chappell took her husband to a walk-in emergency room in Lake Jackson after he developed a rash on his leg and became ill, the television station reported. An ambulance took him to Pearland Medical Center. A hospital spokeswoman told the Houston Chronicle that Vince Chappell was in critical condition but his outlook was favorable.
Another case of vibriosis was reportedly contracted by an Austin man near Port Aransas on Mustang Island, about 10 miles south of Aransas Pass on a route that includes a ferry boat. The Port Aransas South Jetty newspaper, after interviewing a family member about the location, said the man was in Corpus Christi and not Port Aransas.
The most widely reported case was a Jacinto City man whose leg was amputated after he contracted vibriosis while swimming on Galveston Island. The man had diabetes, which weakens the immune system.
A Greenville woman who was on a medication that weakened her immune system contracted vibriosis while fishing at McFaddin Beach in Jefferson County. In addition to Chappell, the other three victims are recovering.
Despite the wide coverage, health officials say the bacterial infections are common in Texas and other states with beaches, but chances of contracting an infection are slight.
A Galveston Health District spokesman said Galveston Island has about 6 million visitors a year but typically only about eight cases are reported. There have been 28 cases reported so far this year in Texas, 13 of them involving contact with water, said Christine Mann, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. Last year, 102 cases were reported, 46 involving contact with water.
"There is nothing unusual," Mann said. "Last year we had the highest number since we began tracking it. This year seems more like a typical year."
Nationally, vibriosis causes about 80,000 illnesses annually, 500 hospitalizations and 100 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 52,000 of these illnesses are believed to be caused by eating contaminated food.
( Source )