Local man recounts battle with flesh-eating bacteria - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Local man recounts battle with flesh-eating bacteria


Vibrio vulnificus is the Latin genus and species of a flesh-eating bacteria.

If you've been to the beach, you've likely been exposed to it. The problem comes with beachgoers who have open cuts or sores or compromised immune systems, and the effects can be deadly.

Mark Langham had a run-in with flesh-eating bacteria, and 10 years later, he's still feeling the effects.

A family trip to Orange Beach, AL, turned into an emergency situation in less than 24 hours.

"I stepped and cut my foot on a pretty good sized oyster," he said.

The cut was bad, but not bad enough for stitches. Langham thought he was fine, but that all changed quickly.

"I couldn't get out of the bed. I felt like my leg was just on fire, like someone had a match or something to the lower part of my left leg," he said.

The doctor in the regional hospital, some 20 miles from the beach, knew what it was right away.

After four days in the hospital on IV antibiotics and morphine, Langham was well enough to come home.

"What it causes your leg to do is just to swell up really, really big, and it got to the point I couldn't even pull trousers on," he said.

It took three months of treatment to overcome the effects, but Langham still battles lymphedema symptoms.

The bacteria can also get into your system through raw seafood, especially oysters. To protect yourself, stay away from bad seafood and don't get into ocean water with open cuts or sores.

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