Man infected with flesh-eating bacteria in Grand Isle; advisories issued for beaches

Man infected with flesh-eating bacteria in Grand Isle; advisories issued for beaches

GRAND ISLE, LA (WVUE) - The warning is out for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend with several beach advisories issued due to abnormally high bacteria levels.

There have been nine cases of flesh-eating bacterial infections this year in Louisiana. Tim Parrott contracted the deadly infection two weeks ago while at his camp in Grand Isle.

"I was just kind of goofing off in the water and cut my toe on something, and I knew immediately I was probably going to have a problem," Parrott said.

He started cleaning the cut as soon as he could to try and stop any infection, but it was already too late. The bacteria was in his blood and spreading.

"Knowing what this has done to other people, I was very scared," Parrott said.

Parrott believes the multiple doctor visits and the nearly three gallons of IV medication likely saved his leg.

"Once it's beyond 72 hours, it's just too late. I caught it in the 42-hour window and was lucky to do so," Parrott said.

For the upcoming weekend, there are twelve Louisiana beaches under high bacteria advisories. There are three advisories in the New Orleans area, two in Grand Isle and one at the Fountainebleau State Park Beach. 
"It's fluid from storm runoff, it's from raw sewage entering the water. It could be from sewage that is dumped out of boats," Department of Health and Hospitals spokesman Bob Johannessen said. "Any sort of open cut or sore, you probably want to think twice before swimming at that particular location." 
DHH officials urge swimmers to be aware if they swim at a beach without an advisory, because it takes inspectors five days to get their test results back when they are looking for bacteria in the water.

"The Gulf currents are constantly changing. The water conditions are constantly changing," Johannessen said. "If you don't ingest the water and you don't go swimming when you have an open cut or sore, you're probably going to be okay."  
According to information provided to by DHH, Texas and Florida are the only two states with more cases of flesh eating bacteria than Louisiana.

Water advisories in other states are constantly changing. Click the links below to find out where there may be an advisory.

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