Indiana man hospitalized with carnivorous micro organism after consuming uncooked oysters

An man became life sustaining after catching so-called carnivorous bacteria from raw oysters.

Patrick Baker, 50, had flu-like symptoms about a day or two after buying oysters from a store and eating them at home, his family told the Herald Bulletin. Purple blisters appeared on his legs and he had what felt like increasing pain. His temperature rose to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (F).

Concerned about his condition, his wife told him to go to the emergency room. Baker was diagnosed with a type of infection called necrotizing fasciitis caused by Vibrio vulnificus bacteria commonly known as “carnivores”. Necrotizing fasciitis can cause the skin around a wound to die off as if it were being eaten. Baker caught the infection from seawater.

He was transferred to an intensive care unit in and then on life support for three weeks until August 2nd. He underwent emergency surgery on both legs to remove the infection and has since been moved from the intensive care unit. Next, he must undergo procedures including skin grafts.

Debbie Huffman, Baker’s mother-in-law, told The Herald Bulletin, “If the infection had spread to his abdomen, he would have died … He’ll be operated on again over time and they’ll be debris from his dead skin.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vibrio vulnificus kills about one in five people it infects. This can happen within a day or two if they get sick. Many people with the infection need their limbs amputated and treated for intensive care.

A person can get an infection from the Vibrio family of seafood bacteria, including raw or undercooked oysters. It can also get into an open wound if it comes in contact with “raw or undercooked seafood, its juices or brackets, or salt or brackish water,” according to its CDC website.

Symptoms of Vibrio vulnificus infection include watery diarrhea, often with stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Infection of the blood by the bacteria can cause chills, fever, low blood pressure and blistering of the skin. When a wound becomes infected, the person may develop a fever and the area may be red, painful, swollen, warm to the touch, and discolored. Liquid can also leak out.

Doctors told Baker’s family that if he continues to recover, he may not need to amputate his legs.

An archive picture shows a raw oyster. An man was hospitalized after contracting a life-threatening infection from a raw oyster.
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