Terrebonne shrimper contracts flesh-eating bacteria - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Terrebonne shrimper contracts flesh-eating bacteria

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Bayou Blue, La. - Every inch Don Boudreaux moves feels like a mile. Climbing the three steps into his mother's home is like climbing a mountain. The pain of having his bandages changed brings tears to his eyes.

Boudreaux went out near Marsh Island for the first day of the fall shrimp season August 12. By the next day, he was in the ER running a high fever, his foot rapidly swelling.

Doctors diagnosed it as Vibrio vulnificus, a flesh-eating bacteria, and said it likely entered Boudreaux's body through a small cut on his foot.

"Four days, every day they had to make cuts and cut away all the bad tissue because it was eating it, was just so fast and starting to rot my foot and my leg," he said.

Boudreaux is one of nine cases this year of Vibrio vulnificus, according to the Department of Health and Hospitals.

Lois Domangue of Chauvin also contracted the bacteria by handling live crabs.

Earlier this summer, state health officials issued a warning about the presence of Vibrio vulnificus after an 83-year-old man died from it.

All area waterways are susceptible to the bacteria, but most people with healthy immune systems can fight it off without any problems. A spokesperson with DHH says the number of cases isn't higher than usual.

Last year, 12 people contracted Vibrio vulnificus.

Boudreaux's mother thinks there should be more warnings.

"I wouldn't want my worst enemy to have to go through anything like he's been through, because it's bad," Linda Boudreaux said. "It's just really really bad stuff."

Boudreaux doesn't know when or if he'll be able to return to work.

"They cut so much stuff in my calf muscle, how am I going to walk after this?" he said. "I don't know."

Once his wounds begin to heal, doctors will cover the sores with skin grafts, but Boudreaux has a long and painful recovery ahead.

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