This photo provided by Patty Konietzky shows her husband’s foot of what they thought was a bug bite on Sept. 22, 2013, in Ormond Beach, Fla. Patty and her husband, Henry “Butch” Konietzky, went crabbing in the Halifax River near Ormond Beach in September. Butch developed a sore which was later confirmed to be vibrio vulnificus. The bacteria spread quickly in his body and he died 60 hours later. (AP Photo/Patty Konietsky)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Patty Konietzky thought the small purple lesion on her husband’s ankle was a spider bite. But when the lesion quickly spread across his body like a constellation, she knew something wasn’t right.
After a trip to the hospital and a day and a half later, Konietzky’s 59-year-old husband was dead.
The diagnosis: vibrio vulnificus (vih-BREE’-oh VUHL’-nihf-ih-kus), an infection caused by a bacterium found in warm salt water. It’s in the same family of bacterium that causes cholera. So far this year, 31 people across Florida have been infected by the severe strain of vibrio, and 10 have died.
“I thought the doctors would treat him with antibiotics and we’d go home,” said Konietzky, who lives in Palm Coast, Fla. “Never in a million years it crossed my mind that this is where I’d be today.”
State health officials say there are two ways to contract the disease: by eating raw, tainted shellfish — usually oysters — or when an open wound comes in contact with bacteria in warm seawater.
In Mobile, Ala., this week health department officials said two men with underlying health conditions were diagnosed with vibrio vulnificus in recent Login to read more