MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis man who visited the Gulf Coast has died of flesh-eating bacteria.
In a post written by the man's daughter on Wednesday, she described a weekend filled with family fun, enjoying the best of the Emerald Coast - from jet skiing to swimming in Destin, Florida's beautiful water.
But it quickly turned deadly for the Memphis man battling cancer.
"Flesh-eating bacteria sounds like an urban legend,” his daughter wrote. “Let me assure you that it is not. It took my dad's life."
She said that 12 hours after being in the water last, her father woke up with a fever and chills.
That was Saturday morning. Forty-eight hours later his family would learn Vibrio vulnificus took his life.
"My dad didn't have any open wounds. He had a couple places that were practically healed,” his daughter said. “Small scratches on his arms and legs that I made sure were super sealed up."
The post said that by Monday he was admitted to the hospital in Memphis.
A black spot on his back was a sign of the deadly infection. The bacteria naturally live in certain coastal waters. But Dr. Muhammad Khurshid of St. Francis Hospital in Memphis said there shouldn’t be panic.
"These are sporadic cases that happen all the time,” he said. “And some of them go bad. Patients lose limbs, lots of tissue and that gets media attention."
Khurshid is an infectious disease specialist
Though infections are rare, he said it could be detrimental for people who are already sick.
"Especially if you’re immune-compromised and you have an open wound,” Dr. Khurshid said. “I would rather avoid those kind of situations where you're exposed to that water."
But the victim’s family said there were no warnings on the beaches of the bacteria that was lurking in Destin's blue waters.
Experts say do not enter the water if you have fresh cuts or scrapes.