Man Dies From Flesh-Eating Disease He Got While Fishing From a Boat

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 25, 2019US News
Man Dies From Flesh-Eating Disease He Got While Fishing From a Boat
Stock photo of surgeons in an operating theatre. (CC0)

A Texas man has passed away after he got infected with a flesh-eating disease while fishing from a boat, his daughter said.

Jerry Sebek, 78, was fishing near Palacios on June 13.

Kim Sebek, his daughter, told HTV that he didn’t have any open wounds that the family knew of or a weakened immune system.

On the day of the fishing excursion, Jerry Sebek started experiencing symptoms including vomiting and breathing troubles.

Doctors thought he had heat exhaustion.

“We felt like he might be suffering from heat exhaustion, he had chills and he was vomiting a little bit and shivering, felt like he was running a fever,” Kim Sebek told Spectrum News.

The next morning, a strange rash had quickly worsened.

“You’re not talking about penny-sized blisters. You’re talking about quarter-sized blisters forming on his forearm and underneath his forearm, so you know it wasn’t a sunburn at that time,” said Kim Sebek.

At the hospital later that day, Jerry Sebek was diagnosed with vibriosis, also known as Vibrio.

Two weeks later, after amputations of one leg and one arm and a medically induced coma, Sebek was dead.

“I’m still a little shocked and in disbelief,” Kim Sebek told HTV. “Dad was a wonderful family man who loved to hunt and fish and do things out in the water … We’ve been coming here [Turtle Bay] for years, and this is just an unfortunate thing that happened.”

According to Jerry Sebek’s obituary, he was an active member of his church and the local Masonic Lodge.

“Jerry was an avid softball player up until he was 50. He also coached T-Ball, Little League, Pony League and softball for his children and other children in the community. Jerry was a well-respected member of this community who would do anything for anyone,” his family wrote.

Warning and Symptoms

The shocking death prompted Kim Sebek to speak out and warn others.

“If you don’t feel good, get help immediately,” she told CBS Austin.

“You just get it by chance. But we want people to know the signs and symptoms and early detection,” she added to Spectrum. “I know I keep saying that, but it could be the difference in not only my dad but somebody else’s life and death.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that Vibrio causes an estimated 100 deaths in the United States every year out of some 80,000 illnesses.

“Most infections occur from May through October when water temperatures are warmer,” the agency stated.

Symptoms typically occur within 24 hours of ingesting the Vibrio bacteria and usually last about three days.

Symptoms are watery diarrhea, often accompanied by abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. The bacteria can also cause a skin infection.

Man Gets Surgery

Another case popped up in Texas recently. Daniel Joens, 79, was fishing with his son-in-law off Ransom Island and noticed his hand throbbing. When he woke up at 2 a.m., the hand had ballooned to twice the size.

“He noticed his hand was starting to hurt, so he went to bed,” Cindy Jones-Anderson, the man’s daughter, told KRIS-TV. “About two o’clock in the morning it woke him up throbbing, and his hand had swollen twice the size.”

He was rushed to a hospital and diagnosed with a Vibrio infection.

Jones’s wife Marilyn Jones said that he has had three surgeries and will require plastic surgery for the hand that got swollen.

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