The return of the flesh-eating bacterium isn't the title of a terrible sci-fi film; it's an accurate description of what's going on along Galveston's shore.

NF (Necrotizing Fasciitis)
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

Return of the Flesh-Eating Bacteria

According to News4 San Antonio, a Galveston health specialist warns residents that the flesh-eating bacterium has returned.

Several accounts from Texas have gone viral in recent years, all of which follow a similar pattern: someone receives a minor cut or other penetrative injuries, is exposed to saltwater, and then reports being infected with a terrible flesh-eating bacterium.

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Personal Account

Darrell Dunn's tale is no exception. Mr. Dunn told News4 that he was sent home with a wound that had not been adequately cleaned up after a golf cart accident crushed his leg and brought him to the hospital.

He remembers sand still being on his leg near the incision. Unfortunately for him, the germs had already begun to infect him after entering his wound at the time of the accident.

Mr. Dunn is still being treated for the germs two months after his injury. The flesh-eating bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, can cause amputations or even death in extreme cases or if left untreated.

Mr. Dunn advised parents in the area to keep an eye out for scrapes on their children. "Just be extra cautious if your kids get scratched with a seashell or whatever. Just take it more seriously because it might lead to additional issues down the road. Because it has certainly brought me more issues."


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the signs of a Vibrio infection can appear anywhere between 12 and 72 hours after initial contact.

NF (Necrotizing Fasciitis)
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
Open wound after debridement of NF

Professor of Infectious Disease at UTMB Galveston, Dr. Alfred Scott Lea, described the illness as "very aggressive."

He described the illness as "severe." "The worst part is that it progresses so quickly that if you aren't cautious, it will appear and kill a person within 24 hours."

Every year, six to eight cases of flesh-eating bacteria are reported in Galveston, according to Dr. Lea. This year, there have already been two instances recorded in the city and county.

Necrotizing Fasciitis

NF (Necrotizing Fasciitis)
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

Necrotizing fasciitis (NF), commonly known as a flesh-eating disease (bacteria), causes the destruction of soft tissue in the body. It's a deadly sickness that appears out of nowhere and spreads quickly. In the afflicted area, red or purple skin, intense pain, fever, and vomiting are common symptoms. The limbs and perineum are the most often afflicted regions.

Necrotizing fasciitis is an uncommon but dangerous condition. However, many patients with necrotizing fasciitis are healthy before contracting the illness.

The infection usually enters the body through a skin breach, such as a cut or a burn. Poor immunological function, such as that caused by diabetes or cancer, obesity, alcoholism, intravenous drug use, and peripheral vascular disease, are also risk factors.

It does not usually transmit from person to person. Depending on the infecting organism, the illness is divided into four kinds. More than one species of bacteria is involved in 55 to 80 percent of cases. Up to a third of cases are caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Medical imaging is frequently useful in confirming a diagnosis.

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