Angel Perez, 60, of Millville, Jersey, was catching crabs last week (left and right) off the Maurice River.
His daughter told NJ.com that her father had contracted Vibrio necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria that can be contracted in the summer months from salty water, and that he is in critical condition. "It was swelling, it was blistered". His daughter Dilena Perez-Dilan told NJ Advanced Media, "The infection has spread to his blood... his skin; you can see it spreading from his feet all the way above his kneecap".
Perez had to have a leg surgically drained as an infectious disease doctor investigated the cause of the infection. Usually, it's contracted by eating raw shellfish, but it can also enter the body through an open wound or even a small scratch.More news: US tariffs take effect, China retaliates
But the New Jersey health department says if anyone has open cuts or scrapes, it's best to stay out of brackish water, according to WPVI.
He was in the ICU at Cooper University Hospital on Monday. If he doesn't, they may have to amputate at least three of his limbs.
"I have another family member that goes to that spot; she now has a rash on her leg, and her leg (had) painful swelling", Perez-Dilan said "She got antibiotics right away".More news: NASA's Kepler Telescope 'close to death' as it runs out of fuel
Perez tested positive for a bacterium commonly found in coastal ocean water, Vibrio vulnificus, according to KYW. "If you see something that's out of the norm, go and get it checked". With the prognosis still unknown, the Perez family is praying Angel leaves the hospital with his life and limbs. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that these bacteria cause about 205 infections per year nationwide.
Perez-Dilan said her father is not breathing well but on his own and is only able to slightly move his right arm - yet is in good spirits. "That's why they do use boots - people use boots and covers to protect themselves", Perez-Dilan told WPVI. "He's just happy to have a second chance". We think water is safe.
Four out of five of infections happen between May and October, the CDC says, and the bacteria is more likely to infect those with a "compromised immune system".More news: Pakistani authorities arrest ousted premier Nawaz Sharif's son-in-law