Following multiple reports of people contracting a flesh-eating bacteria, beachgoers up and down the east coast have been on high alert this summer. Unfortunately, a recent report shows that people can contract a flesh-eating-bacteria without even having swum in the water.
Gary Evans, 56, passed away from a flesh-eating bacteria four days after going crabbing at Magnolia Beach in Texas. He and his wife, Debra Mattix, had been visiting the beach on vacation. She says they never went swimming in the water.
The father-of-six had gone crabbing with his family for the July 4th holiday, and two days later, he was unable to walk. He was diagnosed with vibrio, a flesh-eating bacteria, that quickly progressed into necrotizing fasciitis. Vibrio, which can enter the body through small cuts, is frequently present in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where Evans and his family were crabbing.
In an interview with KHOU, Mattix, 60, shared her shock. “His hat fell off into the water a couple of times, and he picked it up, and you just laugh about it, and he put it back on his head, was that it? Was that the entryway then? I don’t know. Could it have been when he pulled the crab traps out of the water and the breeze, some of the water sprinkled on him then? But to say we floated out in the water, no. We never got in the water.”
Mattix shared that the bacteria spread very quickly. They had initially taken Evans to the hospital because his feet and legs were swollen, but they didn’t think anything was terribly wrong. The doctors quickly identified that he had vibrio and treated it with antibiotics. Unfortunately, after complications, he was taken into surgery and the doctors told the family he had 72 hours left to live.
Evans passed away on July 8, and the family has since set-up a GoFundMe page to raise money for his funeral.
Mattix says she chose to share her story to raise awareness of the risks of flesh-eating bacteria in warm bodies of water like the Gulf of Mexico.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.