Man Contracts Flesh-Eating Bacteria While Swimming

A man is recovering after contracting a rare flesh-eating bacterium while swimming in a local reservoir.

Mississippi native, Justin Owen took to Facebook earlier this month to share his horrifying ordeal after cutting his ankle on a rock and taking a dip in a local reservoir. Unaware of what lurks within, Owen ended up in a hospital two weeks later as doctors discovered bacteria in his ankle that was eating away at his tissue.

The 28-year-old posted an image of his foot covered in several stitches, while sharing his story to locals and users of the social network. The post has since received more than 5,000 reactions, comments and shares.

"If you cut yourself in the water be sure and wash it out IMMEDIATELY!" he wrote. "The water is full of nasty bacteria that can cause you to lose your feet, hands, etc."

Owen credits the staff at University Medical Center who were able to save his foot, continuing, "I can't thank them enough for the work they put in to help me."

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In an interview with MS News Now, Owen says he never really thought twice about the cut as it was the size of his pinky. However, the next day, he visited a doctor and showed his foot as he felt he had a bad sprain, but they only flushed his cut out and sent him home.

It was then that Owen started developing extreme pain. Subsequently, doctors discovered his cut was "necrotizing fasciitis," a serious bacterial infection that destroys skin, fat and tissue.

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"They looked at it and they said…[the infection] was burrowed down to my ankle and almost to my joint," Owen said. "They said it was a bunch of dead tissue that the bacteria was feeding off of."

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Owen required 11 stitches, but says he's lucky that he still has his leg and foot.