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gagglehead 11-02-2007 04:13 PM

Fishermen Beware!!!
Just wanted to share an unforunate incident that has happened to me. Started having pains in my hand and fingers. Got so bad I went to the doctor. He took xrays and assured me nothing was broken. He told me that I had probably brusied my hand that it should go away. Well a few months later the pain got worse and I couldn't bend my middle finger. Another doctor told me I had a little tendonitus. He gave me some pills for it. A few more months went by and now the pain was unbearable. I was referred to a orthopedic surgeon. As soon as he saw by swollen fingers and hand he knew exactly what I had. "Mycoplasma Marinum" He sent me immediately for an MRI and the day after he performed surgery on my hand to drain the infection and took tissue samples to send to a lab. My results came in today and I have this disease full blown in my system. This was the fifth case this year in Coastal Georgia. The first two patients lost there hands. This bacteria attacks your cells. It also takes about 6-12 months to incubate in your body. It is a very slow growing infection and very hard to treat. Anyone that spends alot of time in saltwater can catch this. It enters your body though a cut or open sore. It is mostly found in saltwater fish in the warmer waters. I want everyone to be made aware of this infection. The symptons are severe pain in your joints and swelling. It is common in your hands or feet. Anywhere that you might cut yourself. All five patients work or spend alot of time in saltwater. I want people to be made aware of this. You can Google "Mycoplasma Marinum" to get more info. I will be on very strong antibiotics fo the next 8-18 months. He hoped he caught it in time to save my finger or hand. You can email me for any other info. on this. Make sure you let your doctor know about this infection.

11-02-2007 05:38 PM

Re: Fishermen Beware!!!
OMG!!! I am wishing you the best, and a fast and full recovery! A friend of mine mentioned something of this sort a few days ago, I thought he was full of it...Now I believe him! Thanks for sharing and warning us all...good luck and please, keep us all informed on your progress!!!

Steel Workin 11-02-2007 05:54 PM

Re: Fishermen Beware!!!
Sorry to hear that! Hope all is well soon!

Dantilu 11-02-2007 05:56 PM

RE: Fishermen Beware!!!
Holy Crap....... Glad you caught it and thanks for bring it to our attention..... :thumbsup:

Semper Fi-sh 11-02-2007 06:01 PM

RE: Fishermen Beware!!!
Thanx for sharing that...and hope you fully recover..

There was something up this way on cape cod a couple years back call the flesh eating bacteria...a surfcaster got it from a hook in the finger..ate up his whole arm before they amputated it...

good luck

My Turn 11-02-2007 08:45 PM

Re: Fishermen Beware!!!
Good luck with the recovery. There was a real good thread here a few months back about avoiding these infections.

And BTW, probably time to consider a new Doctor.

gagglehead 11-02-2007 10:31 PM

Re: Fishermen Beware!!!
Thanks Guys. Hope I could help someone else before it is too late. My new doctor is really sharp. He actually calls me several times a week to check on me. That is rare these days from a doctor.

2005 SeaCraft 11-02-2007 10:44 PM

Re: Fishermen Beware!!!
We have one here in Texas which claims a number of fishermen each year...have them double check for this as well... Godspeed to your recovery. And keep some Clorox Bleach wipes on board!!!!

E-mail Story to a Friend Printer Friendly
July 23, 2004
Victoria Advocate
A case of infection by flesh-eating bacteria in Houston was reported to health officials Wednesday, following reports of two Houston fishermen hospitalized with symptoms of the disease in Victoria last week, while another case is suspected in a Matagorda hospital and a Rockport man is recovering from an encounter with the bacteria earlier this month.

A case of a skin infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio vulnificus was reported to the Houston Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday morning, said Kathy Barton, chief of public affairs.

A Houston man in his early 40s contracted the infection on one of his extremities while fishing in Galveston Bay, she said. The man first started showing symptoms July 12, but the hospital didn't report it until the middle of this week.

Barton said she didn't know the man's condition, but she believed he was still hospitalized. She declined to disclose which hospital reported the infection.

Jesse Arsola, of Bay City, was hospitalized with a severe bacterial infection of his leg after a fishing trip last weekend and is listed in good condition at Matagorda General Hospital, Daryle Voss, hospital administrator said. Test results have not confirmed the nature of the bacteria, but Arsola is being treated for necrotizing fasciitis, a severe form of cellulitis that destroys infected soft tissue very quickly that is commonly referred to as being caused by flesh-eating bacteria.

Exactly where Arsola was fishing when he was believed to have been infected has not been confirmed by either him or health officials.

Charles Newton of Rockport was rushed to the hospital July 8, two days after he most likely came in contact with the bacteria around Rockport Harbor.

While fishermen on the Texas Gulf coast have long known about dangerous bacteria in warm, bay waters, many feel the danger is slight. But David Christian of Houston said he is rethinking that perception after what happened to the two men, one of them his friend, who are now in intensive care at Citizens Medical Center in Victoria.

"Fishermen have known about the Vibrio (vulnificus) bacteria for a long time," said the 39-year-old Christian. "But everyone always thought it was like getting struck by lightning."

Christian wade-fished with one of the two men in Greens Bayou near Port O'Connor during the Poco Bueno tournament. The other man now hospitalized in Victoria had fished nearby. Both are between the ages of 45 and 50.

On Thursday, Christian's partner was considered in stable to good condition, while the other man remained in critical condition, said Melissa Purl, hospital spokesperson.

Christian said that the usual precautions didn't apply in his friend's case.

"They say that people with open wounds and poor immune systems should be worried about the bacteria," Christian said. "But (he) wasn't sick and he didn't have any open wounds."

Hospital officials have said that it was suspected the bacteria found entrance through an abrasion rubbed on the man's leg by his boot.

"I was told that they think it entered his body through an area that his wading boots rubbed his leg," said Christian. "I don't know a lot about it, but I think they need to do some research if something in the water can do this to fishermen."

Christian explained that a small bruise, about the size of a quarter, appeared on his friend's leg Saturday morning. He didn't think anything of it, but by 6 p.m., when they returned to the house they were staying in, he wasn't feeling well and the bruised area had grown to about three inches across.

"That's when we thought it might be something," Christian said. "He went to have it looked at and they drew a black line around it and we went to dinner. By 10 p.m., he started shaking and couldn't stand up and it had started to blister."

They went to the emergency room in Port Lavaca, and were eventually flown to Victoria, where surgeons began fighting to save the man's life.

"They are surgically removing the infected flesh, trying to save the leg," Christian said. "I heard the other gentleman has had part of his leg amputated and is on life support."

Citizens confirmed that the other man's infection was a result of the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, but the tests that will confirm the bacterial cause of Christian's friend's illness have not returned from the lab.

The Texas Department of Health is reminding people to take precautions against Vibrio infections, which can occur when Gulf or bay water comes in contact with cuts or open wounds.

"Vibrio is not new to the world, and it's not new to Texas, but some precautions are in order," said Linda Gaul, TDH epidemiologist. "We can't downplay the seriousness of Vibrio infections, but we're really not seeing any unusual numbers."

Since late March, TDH has confirmed 20 cases of Vibrio illness in Texas residents, including three deaths. Gaul said the state averages around 36 cases a year. Health authorities have confirmed three cases of Vibrio infections this month. At least two of them were associated with exposure of cuts or open wounds to coastal saltwater.

Yearly, according to the Web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an average of 50 culture-confirmed cases, 45 hospitalizations and 16 deaths from the Gulf Coast region, including Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Nationwide, there are as many as 95 cases - half of which are unconfirmed- 85 hospitalizations and 35 deaths.

"The bacteria can be found anywhere in salt water," Doug McBride, Texas Department of Health spokesman, said. "It is prevalent in all coastal salt water and it becomes more prevalent when the temperatures rise."

Because the bacteria is ever present there is no testing for the bacteria, explained Dr. James Oliver, professor of biology at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, and is an expert on Vibrio. "It's a natural occurrence," he said. "If you test for it, you're going to find it."

Several species of Vibrio bacteria live in coastal saltwater around the world. Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus are two common species of the organism.

"There are several species of Vibrio bacteria," said Joe Fox, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mariculture and Environmental Science, College of Science and Technology, Texas A&M University. "It can be found in nearly every species of fish, shrimp or any other creature that lives in warm salt water. It is probably a long shot for someone to be infected by simply walking or swimming along a beach. The bacteria are opportunistic. They are always looking for a place that will allow their population to explode. So they can be found in concentrations around oyster banks. They are always looking for animals under stress, or open wounds."

Gaul said simply coming in contact with Gulf water does not mean an infection will happen.

But wounds or cuts exposed to salty seawater should be cleaned immediately.

"If (a person has) a wound that may have gotten salt water in it, they should wash it out with soap and water, hydrogen peroxide or even bleach. If a cut or wound starts showing signs of infection, they should get medical treatment as soon as possible," said Doug McBride, Texas Department of Health spokesman.

Vibrio also can be contracted from eating raw or undercooked shellfish from infected waters. Health officials continually warn that those with diabetes, liver problems or other diseases that weaken the immune system should never consume raw or undercooked shellfish, including oysters, clams and mussels.

Vibrio infections can be successfully treated with antibiotics if treated early. But some infections can be deadly. Last year, of the 43 cases of Vibrio infections recorded in Texas, seven ended in deaths.

Symptoms of infection from seawater exposure can include breakdown of the skin and ulcerations. Ingestion of the organism can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. If Vibrio infects the bloodstream - more likely to happen in those with diabetes, weakened immune systems or liver problems - serious complications marked by fever, chills, septic shock and blistering skin lesions can occur.

Gaul said there are no warnings or advisories discouraging visits to the Texas coast.

Greg Brown is a reporter for the Advocate. Contact him at 979-244-1330 or gkbrown@ The Advocate's Louise Popplewell and Thomas Doyle contributed to this report. Contact Popplewell at 361-552-28-03 or Contact Doyle at 361-580-6511 or

Reel Boobs 11-03-2007 06:59 AM

Re: Fishermen Beware!!!
Good to hear that you are ok. :thumbsup:

Thanks for letting us know the danger. Is there anything would should while on the water to avoid catching it?

Tireless 11-03-2007 07:31 AM

RE: Fishermen Beware!!!
Best of luck getting that problem eliminated gaggle. Do you fish close-in or offshore? Does it matter where you are or is the problem found in all of the hot water off GA?

Garett 11-03-2007 07:32 AM

Re: Fishermen Beware!!!
No way that is from the saltwater.......that is from slapping your monkey around to much. :nono: :grin:

Best to you man......hope the meds do as you hope them to. ;)

mole2 11-03-2007 10:33 AM

RE: Fishermen Beware!!!
I"m glad you caught it in time Gaggle. Good luck with the recovery and you're in my prayers.

nj ron 11-03-2007 10:45 AM

Re: Fishermen Beware!!!
gaggle.... Glad you found a knowing doctor. Hope all works out well for you.
Keep up with the meds as prescribed. I had blood poisening from a dog bite 2
years ago. Had the E R doc treated it right in the firstplace, I would heve been
OK from the start. All docs are not created equal.

Your explanation of this infection is great info for all of us at THT that fish the
salt. We need more such informative posts here rather than bilge type dribble.

Thanks and get well soon.


WEAKFISH 11-03-2007 11:40 AM

RE: Fishermen Beware!!!
Tough break gaggs.....Sure hope it turns out well for you.

gagglehead 11-03-2007 05:11 PM

Re: Fishermen Beware!!!
If you are fishing or spending anytime in the saltwater. Be conscious about any cuts,scratches, or scraps. You can get this from the water or a fish. If you are handling fish wear a glove. If you are even handling bait try and have a box of latex gloves on board. It sounds and looks silly but people are losing their limbs from this bacteria. I fish mostly inshore. The warmer the water temps. get and the lack of fresh water I am told is going to start creating more and new unbelievable bacteria's in the water. This bacteria is attracted to blood and gets into your cells not your bloodstream, that is why it is so hard to treat.. It eats your cells away causing the area to basically die. Once that happens amputation time. The fellow here that lost his hand now has it in his arm. Just be aware of this. I let it go too long before getting help. If you have any of the symptoms let your doctor know. This is new to most physicians.

rkatz 11-03-2007 06:22 PM

Re: Fishermen Beware!!!
Gaggle, thanks for the head's up. Best of luck. Note to self: small bottles of bleach and peroxide on boat from now on.

DrJim 11-03-2007 06:25 PM

Re: Fishermen Beware!!!
A valuable heads-up. Good Luck!

KJS 11-04-2007 02:58 PM

Re: Fishermen Beware!!!
Sorry to hear this happened to you and I hope you get better.

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