Man Says He Contracted Potentially Deadly Flesh-Eating Bacteria Without Ever Entering the Water

Vibrio vulnificus is one of the most frightening illnesses an individual can contract. This often deadly flesh eating disease has featured in horror movies and for good reason.

Not only does the bacteria horribly attack the underlying layers of your skin, it often proves fatal. This usually waterborne pathogen truly has a terrifying reputation.

For one Florida man, though, it struck in an unexpected way: It allegedly infected him when he wasn’t near any sort of water.

Tyler “TK” King said the illness struck aggressively and without warning.

King is an avid water lover and even has a water-sports business. However, he said he hadn’t gone into the waves on the day he began to feel badly.

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He’d spent his morning working with a photographer to promote his business. “We started with a short paddle across a dune lake to get some cool pictures,” he wrote on Facebook. “I NEVER got into the water. After returning to the dock, we went on an electric bike ride down the 30A bike path and thru a local state park.”

During the ride, King began to develop some pain in his arm. It swiftly began to swell and become discolored.

“A good friend of mine marked the parameters of the rash with an ink pen so I could track how quickly it was spreading. I immediately left to get some Benadryl from the local Publix before heading home to rest it off,” he stated.

King said he nodded off not long after that, and when he woke up two hours later, his limb looked like something out of a scary film. It had swollen to about three times its normal size.

He quickly made his way to the hospital where physicians began trying to figure out what was wrong with him. After multiple blood tests, they allegedly had their answer: the aforementioned vibrio vulnifcus.

“It is 100 percent unknown as to why or how I was infected, but I was infected none the less,” King wrote.

King hopes that his example can serve as a warning to others, and one thing he hopes they understand is the difference between vibrio vulnifcus and necrotizing fasciitis, a related and more famous condition.

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“You cannot ‘catch’ flesh eating bacteria,” he stated. “The infection from the bacteria did not reach the point of it causing necrotizing fasciitis and actually destroying my muscle tissue and arm only because I acted quickly on getting medical treatment.”

He also hoped that his infection would warn people to be careful and get professional help quickly. “Bacteria, good and bad, is present everywhere in this world,” he said.

“It is even important to have good bacteria in your stomach to help your body process food. With proper care, bad situations can be avoided.”

Indeed, that seems to be the main point in avoiding truly terrible cases of the flesh-eating disease. With a little attention, even those infected with these bacteria can quickly recover.

Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, reached out to King for comment but did not hear back at the time of publication.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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