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A woman says her father died after contracting flesh eating bacteria at a Florida beach

INSIDER logoINSIDER 7/15/2019 Susanna Heller

Destin Beach, Ocean Blvd, Destin, FL 32540, United States © 2019 HERE/Microsoft Destin Beach, Ocean Blvd, Destin, FL 32540, United States A man from Memphis, Tenessee, died after contracting flesh-eating bacteria at a beach in Florida, his daughter wrote in a Facebook post.

In her post, Cheryl Bennett Wiygul, his daughter, said their family vacation to Destin, Florida, went well - they swam in the ocean and pool and enjoyed their time together.

But after reading reports that a 12-year-old girl contracted flesh-eating bacteria after swimming with an open cut, they wanted to be extra careful, as her father had "battled cancer for many years" and was immuno-compromised.

Wiygul said that she and her mother took extra care to make sure her father regularly applied sunscreen and although there were "a couple places that were practicality healed small scratches on his arms and legs" she made sure his wounds were "super sealed up."

But less than 12 hours after her dad went swimming at Destin Beach, he became sick, experiencing symptoms including fever, chills, and cramps.

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On Friday, the family opted to drive back to Memphis as planned, so Wygul's father could be treated by doctors who knew his medical history. Saturday night, Wiygul's mom and dad arrived at the hospital, at which point he was in a great deal of pain, Wiygul wrote.

Read more: A Florida man almost lost his hand after he was pricked with a fishing hook contaminated with rare 'flesh-eating' bacteria

As he was getting changed at the hospital, doctors found a large, black spot on his back that hadn't been there before. From there, his condition worsened - he became septic and was transferred to the ICU where he died on Sunday, July 7.

"He was gone by Sunday afternoon," Wygul wrote. "Less than 48 hours after getting out of the water feeling great, the bacteria had destroyed him."

According to her post, her father contracted an infection called vibrio vulnificus, "which manifests into necrotizing fasciitis," she wrote.

According to the CDC, people may contract vibrio infections by eating raw or undercooked shellfish or if salty water comes into contact with an open wound. This kind of bacteria is most prevalent in the water between May and October, the CDC said.

a blurry photo of a person © Cheryl Bennett Wiygul/Facebook In her post, Wygul said she didn't know about the risks associated with the bacteria in the water.

"I do believe if there was a simple sign posted about the risk of swimming with an open wound or an immune disorder, we wouldn't have let him get in, she wrote. "I am absolutely not trying to scare people from the beach or swimming. I love the water and so did my Dad."



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