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

Angel Perez, 60, picked up a severe infection while crabbing and was hospitalized in Camden, New Jersey, CNN affiliate KYW reports.

Story highlights

  • Pain and a swollen leg sent Angel Perez to see a doctor the day after be went crabbing
  • Vibrio bacteria, found in coastal waters, can infect people who eat raw shellfish or swim with open wounds
  • In rare cases, these bacteria can cause severe disease and even death

(CNN)A New Jersey man who went into a river fishing for crabs returned with something else entirely: a deadly bacterial infection.

Angel Perez, 60, went crabbing in Maurice River on July 2, according to CNN affiliate KYW. The next day, in pain with a swollen leg, he went to went to urgent care, where he was given antibiotics. But the symptoms got worse. He developed sores on his legs and began hallucinating, and his kidneys began shutting down, KYW reported.
    Perez tested positive for a bacterium commonly found in coastal ocean water, Vibrio vulnificus, according to KYW. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that these bacteria cause about 205 infections per year nationwide. Some cases require limb amputations, and 15% to 30% of cases are fatal, according to the agency.
      Angel Perez picked up a life-threatening infection while crabbing in New Jersey waters.
      Perez's daughter, Dilena Perez-Dilan, said that her father's leg turned "practically [a] brown, blackish color" before his condition deteriorated further, according to CNN affiliate WPVI. The infection spread to all four limbs, the station reports.
      Perez-Dilan told KYW that the "choice is life or limbs, and I've heard that multiple times."
      Infections caused by Vibrio bacteria can enter "through an existing wound and ... cause other complications such as necrotizing fasciitis [an infection causing tissue death], which he unfortunately got," Megan Sheppard, a health officer with the Cumberland County Department of Health, told KYW.
        The infection spread to Perez's limbs. His daughter said the "choice is life or limbs."
        But this may be an unlikely way to get infected, according to experts.
        "In the USA, most serious infections appear to occur with the ingestion of raw oysters along the Gulf Coast, as nearly all oysters are reported to harbor V. vulnificus during the summer months and 95% of cases were related to raw oyster ingestion," according to a report published last year in the medical journal BMJ Case Repo