Man infected with flesh-eating bacteria at Texas beach 'fighting to keep leg'

Adrian Ruiz infected with bacteria during trip to Port Aransas

(Image courtesy: Fox 7 TV in Austin)

PORT ARANSAS, Texas – A Central Texas man became infected with a flesh-eating bacteria during a Father’s Day trip to the Texas Gulf Coast, according to various reports. 

The Austin American-Statesman reported 42-year-old Adrian Ruiz spent time at a Port Aransas beach on June 18 and began to have fever-like symptoms that night. Other reports indicate he spent time in Rockport as well.

Ruiz woke up the next day with a red rash on his leg. He went to an emergency clinic and was treated by medical staff after he was initially diagnosed with cellulitis.

Ruiz, who is from Hays County, returned home and was admitted June 20 to the intensive care unit at Seton Medical Center in Kyle.

Kristi Hill, a friend of the Ruiz family, told the Statesman that Ruiz is fighting to keep his leg.

Hill said Ruiz is listed in critical condition, but added that he's conscious. 

Bacteria advisories were issued earlier this summer for Texas beaches in the Galveston and Bolivar beach areas.

However, none are currently in place in Port Aransas, Scott Cross, director of Nueces County Coastal Parks, told the Corpus Christi Caller Times.

According to KPRC-TV in Houston, the Galveston County Health Department said beaches are not closed when an advisory is issued.  

Advisories simply inform the public of elevated bacteria levels so people can make an informed choice about swimming in the affected waters.

Officials in Port Aransas responded to the report of Ruiz contracting the bacteria, Vibrio, at one of their beaches. 

According to a press release, officials said vibrio vulnificus has not been confirmed in Port Aransas and the reports are speculative. 

“Our thoughts are with the gentleman and his family,” said Ann Bracher Vaughan, President and CEO of the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau. “We welcome over five million visitors to Port Aransas annually. This is the first reported case of Vibrio this year, and while terribly unfortunate, there is no way to confirm where the man came in contact with the bacteria.” 

The release went on to say vibrio transmission can also occur through the consumption of raw, undercooked or contaminated seafood.  

The Galveston County Health District’s website states it is rare that people get an infection from Vibrio bacteria and most people recover from the infection without long-term complications.

When the Vibrio infection is severe, the website state it is common the affected person often has serious preexisting health conditions and swam in untreated water with open sores or wounds.

The Texas Beach Watch website lists all current advisories for beaches along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Vibrio Vulnificus Cases in the United States | HealthGrove

About the Author:

RJ Marquez has been at KSAT since 2010. He's covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area, and is the lead reporter for KSAT Explains. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms. You can see RJ regularly on KSAT Explains and Good Morning San Antonio. He also writes a weekly Spurs newsletter.