A New Jersey man contracted a rare disease in the Maurice River last week, and he may lose all four of his limbs as a result.
Angel Perez spent several hours crabbing near Matts Landing on July 2, according to a report by New Jersey Advance Media. When the 60-year-old emerged from the water, his arms and legs were red and raw. Before long, they began to swell, and the rash turned to blisters, which then turned to scars.
Perez has been diagnosed with a rare bacterial infection called Vibrio necrotizing fasciitis, his family said. It is essentially a flesh-eating condition that could leave him an quadruple amputee. Perez is reportedly in the intensive care unit at Cooper University Hospital, but his fate is still uncertain.
"He is in critical condition," his daughter told NJ Advance Media. "The infection has spread to his blood... his skin; you can see it spreading from his feet all the way above his kneecap. His forearms are black in color; they have blisters, cuts and sores."
Right now, doctors are reportedly testing out antibiotics, hoping that Perez's system will respond to one and help fight off the bacteria. However, it won't be long before they are forced to remove at least three of his limbs to keep it from spreading.
"He's not breathing perfectly, but he's able to breathe on his own and we're able to communicate with him now," his daughter, Dilena Perez-Dilan said. She told reporters that she has been concerned about the water at Matts Landing, having heard of at least two other people getting rashes and inflammation there.
"I have another family member that goes to that spot; she now has a rash on her leg, and her leg [had] painful swelling," she said. "She got antibiotics right away ... And then another friend of his [Perez] that goes fishing there, he now has a baseball-size swelling of his elbow, and that's where he's been going."
Vibrio Necrotizing fasciitis is generally found in salty water during the summertime. It is a rare condition, but when it is present it can enter the body through any small scratch or cut. A spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection told reporters that bacteria like this is unfortunately becoming more and more common. However, Noah Hetzell of the Cumberland County Health Department said that Matts Landing would remain open.
"We can't really do anything other than advise people to stay out of the water in the areas," Hetzell said.