Mom Says Son Infected With Flesh-Eating Bacteria Near Ocean City

A woman says a trip to a Maryland beach left her son covered in wounds from flesh-eating bacteria.

The Daily Times of Salisbury reports Brittany Carey says her son went swimming off the coast of Ocean City last week and had red spots all over his body by the next morning.

Carey wrote about the infection on Facebook on Saturday and shared photos of the wounds. She says Peninsula Regional Health System physicians have diagnosed her son with Vibrio, a form of flesh-eating bacteria.

Officials say such cases are rare and the water is still safe for swimming.

"That's an isolated case. It's something that can happen. If you read about that... it's something that you'll see in the Chesapeake Bay or other areas around here when the water's luke warm," Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan told WBAL Radio.

Anyone with cuts should take precautions, Meehan and other officials said.

"If you have any open cuts when you go into the water, be careful wherever you are whether you're in the bay or the ocean. But the waters are safe to go in so it's not a red flag in that area," Meehan said.

"Infections happen a lot out in the water and people just need to be aware of that and make sure ... if they have a cut or a sore ... especially have a waterproof bandage on it ," Kathy Phillips, with the Assateague Coastal Trust, said.

The official name for the bacteria is necrotizing facsiitis. The CDC says up to one in three people who contract the bacteria die - even with treatment.

"Some of the earliest symptoms of necrotizing facsiitis would be an area of redness or swelling that's spreading rapidly, an area that's severely painful and/or if it's associated with fever," Dr. Natalie Azar, a medical contributor for NBC News.

Health officials say you should seek medical attention immediately if you notice something unusual within a day or two of going in the water.

"Don’t let things fester. That's when people seem to have a problem," said Bob Mitchell, director of Worcester County Environmental Programs.

A Pennsylvania man says his 77-year-old mother died after being infected with similar bacteria when she scraped her leg at a Florida beach.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Vibrio bacteria can be found in coastal waterways. It warns people to keep salt or brackish water away from wounds.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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