N.J. man infected with flesh-eating bacteria while crabbing, could lose limbs

Desiree Burns
July 12, 2018

- A family in New Jersey is anxious about its father, who was hospitalized after going crabbing in Maurice River.

Angel Perez, 60, of Millville, became ill a day after crabbing in the waters off Matts Landing in Maurice River, his family told NJ Advance Media.

The infection has spread to all four of Perez's limbs and, if he doesn't respond to the antibiotics he's receiving soon, doctors may be forced to amputate all of his limbs. About one in seven people with the infection dies, according to the CDC, and limb amputations are common.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eating raw seafood or exposing open wounds to brackish or salt water can increase a person's risk of contracting the bacterial infection.

Doctors believe that the Vibrio bacteria, which is often found in warmer waters where the river meets the sea, is behind his infection. Perez's daughter Dilena Perez-Dilan said her father's right leg quickly "turned (a) brown, blackish color" after he exited the brackish waters. Photos taken by the family show the discoloration and swelling.

"We've all been praying and I think our spirituality, our religion, has been allowing us to get through without going into a chaotic mess", Perez-Dilan told CBS. "His forearms are black in color; they have blisters, cuts and sores", she told NJ Advance Media. "If you see something that's out of the norm, go and get it checked". She now has a rash on her leg, and her leg [had] painful swelling, ' Perez-Dilan said. But the symptoms got worse.

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The bacteria is usually only a concern when you eat raw shellfish, but Perez says his immunity was already compromised because of Parkinson's disease.

Angel Perez contracted flesh-eating bacteria while crabbing in New Jersey waters.

As for Perez, his daughter says he and his family are relying on their faith to guide them through the situation.

"He's been praising God nonstop", Perez-Dilan said.

She told WPVI that she wants people to know that "as much as we need water, it can be poisonous".

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