New Jersey man could lose limbs after contracting flesh-eating bacteria

Angel Perez, 60, reportedly complained of swelling and growing pain in his right leg after coming home on July 2.

"It was swelling", she said. He is now in the ICU at Cooper, the infection spread to all four limbs.

Now, 60-year-old Perez is fighting for his life in the hospital and might have to his limbs amputated, his family told New Jersey Advance Media.

The National Institutes of Health says that while Vibrio bacteria "is one of the more infrequent causes of necrotizing fasciitis", it has a 26 percent mortality rate because it rapidly spreads and it is hard to diagnose.

The bacteria that Perez contracted is called Vibrio necrotizing fasciitis. It's in a group commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria.

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Perez first noticed a rash on his leg, which quickly blistered and spread. But the New Jersey Health Department says if anyone has open cuts or scrapes, it's best to stay out of the brackish water. With the prognosis still unknown, the Perez family is praying Angel leaves the hospital with his life and limbs. It's typically contracted after wading through saltwater or eating raw shellfish.

Perez's daughter, Dilena Perez-Dilan, said that her father's leg turned "practically [a] brown, blackish color" before his condition deteriorated further, according to WPVI.

Perez has Parkinson's disease, which could put him at greater risk for this type of an infection.

The CDC reports about 200 cases of this bacteria each year. And then another friend of [my father's] that goes fishing there, he now has a baseball-size swelling of his elbow and that's where he's been going'. Brackish water is a salty combination of fresh and seawater often found in places like the Chesapeake Bay where the ocean's salt water mixes with fresh water.

Perez-Dilan said her father is not breathing well but on his own and is only able to slightly move his right arm - yet is in good spirits. "Be careful. The water, as much as we need water, it can be poisonous. That's why they do use boots - people use boots and covers to protect themselves", Perez-Dilan told WPVI.

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