New Jersey man could lose limbs after contracting flesh-eating bacteria

A New Jersey man who went into a river fishing for crabs returned with something else entirely: a deadly bacterial infection.

Angel Perez of Millville, New Jersey. was crabbing in Maurice River and just a few hours later his arms and legs were in severe pain and beginning to balloon up.

Infections caused by Vibrio bacteria can enter "through an existing wound and ... cause other complications such as necrotizing fasciitis [an infection causing tissue death], which he unfortunately got", Megan Sheppard, a health officer with the Cumberland County Department of Health, told KYW.

"It can be unsafe and we don't know what we're getting into when we get in there", Perez-Dilan told WPVI. It's in a group commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria.

"We've all been praying and I think our spirituality, our religion, has been allowing us to get through without going into a chaotic mess", Perez-Dilan told CBS.

Perez had to have a leg surgically drained as an infectious disease doctor investigated the cause of the infection.

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Experts advise anyone with open wounds or cuts to stay out of the water and those with compromised immune systems or chronic conditions to avoid eating raw shellfish.

He was in the ICU at Cooper University Hospital on Monday.

If he doesn't, they may have to amputate all of his limbs.

His fingers and toes began turning dark brown and black, sores or blisters appeared on all his limbs. Perez-Dilan said one of her father's friends and another family member developed rashes and swelling. "You can see it spreading from his feet all the way above his kneecap". He's able to breathe on his own and communicate with his family, according to the outlet.

Contracting the disease is rare, and Perez has Parkinson's disease, which puts him at a greater risk for problems. They do say that Mr. Perez is in good spirits. "That's why they do use boots - people use boots and covers to protect themselves", said Dilena.

She added, "He's just happy to have a second chance". "Be careful. The water, as much as we need water, it can be poisonous".

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