New Jersey crabber could lose 'life or limbs' after bacterial infection

Angel Perez contracted a flesh-eating bacteria while crabbing

Angel Perez, 60, of Millville, Jersey, was catching crabs last week (left and right) off the Maurice River.

She said her father's swelling was so severe, his limbs didn't look real. About one in seven people with the infection dies, according to the CDC, and limb amputations are common.

Angel Perez, 60, is in the intensive care unit of Cooper University Hospital, where physicians are treating him with antibiotics in hopes of saving his arms and legs, according to the media outlet. Vibrio is specifically contracted after consuming raw or undercooked seafood or exposing a wound to seawater, the CDC says.

Vibrio necrotizing fasciitis (VNF) is caused by Vibrio bacteria, which are found in coastal waters and multiply during the warm months, typically between May and October. It's in a group commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria.

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Perez had to have a leg surgically drained as an infectious disease doctor investigated the cause of the infection. But the New Jersey Health Department says if anyone has open cuts or scrapes, it's best to stay out of the brackish water.

His fingers and toes began turning dark brown and black, sores or blisters appeared on all his limbs.

Perez's family say the swelling and pain simply got worse. Usually, it's contracted by eating raw shellfish, but it can also enter the body through an open wound or even a small scratch.

"It can be unsafe and we don't know what we're getting into when we get in there", Perez-Dilan told WPVI. The bacteria is more unsafe to those with compromised immune systems, like Perez, who has Parkinson's disease. The Centers for Disease Control only sees in about 200 such cases nationally each year. And then another friend of [my father's] that goes fishing there, he now has a baseball-size swelling of his elbow and that's where he's been going'. "If you see something that's out of the norm, go and get it checked". They do say that Mr. Perez is in good spirits. "Be careful. The water, as much as we need water, it can be poisonous. That's why they do use boots - people use boots and covers to protect themselves", said Dilena.

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