Houston-area man contracts flesh-eating bacteria twice while fishing at Texas beach

“If somebody starts feeling discomfort and it starts to swell pretty rapidly, go get it checked out because it’s very aggressive...”

File photo of a Texas beach. (Photo by Callaghan O'Hare/Getty Images) (Callaghan O'Hare, 2020 Getty Images)

A Houston-area man is recovering in the hospital after he contracted flesh-eating bacteria while fishing at a Texas beach last week.

KSAT 12′s sister station KPRC reported 68-year-old Woody Harvill contracted Vibrio Vulnificus twice while surf fishing in the Brazoria County Beach near Surfside Beach.

Harville told KPRC that he contracted the bacteria for the first time in his right hand over Memorial Day weekend while fishing. He then contracted the bacteria again Wednesday morning while fishing at the same beach, but this time, in his left hand.

“I finally took my bandages off two weeks ago, and I decided I’m a gonna go fishing. And I was very careful. I didn’t get this wet. I had it sealed up and then I got it in the other hand,” Harvill said in an interview with KPRC.

Harvill said he was not sure how he contracted the flesh-eating bacteria because he did not have an open cut or wound.

“If somebody starts feeling discomfort and it starts to swell pretty rapidly, go get it checked out because it’s very aggressive and it will kill you,” he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vibrio Vulnificus can be contracted through open wounds and infections when salt water containing the bacteria comes in contact with the wound.

The CDC also said Vibrio Vulnificus is more likely to affect people with pre-existing conditions such as liver disease, cancer and diabetes.

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About the Author:

Emily Martin is a digital producer trainee at KSAT. She earned a journalism degree from Texas State University, where she was news director at KTSW, the campus radio station. She has also interned at KXAN and KUT in Austin.