Angel Perez, 60, reportedly complained of swelling and growing pain in his right leg after coming home on July 2.
A local family says their father is fighting for his life and his limbs. About one in seven people with the infection dies, according to the CDC, and limb amputations are common. Doctors at Cooper University Hospital, where Perez is listed in critical condition, are trying to save all four of his limbs. The next day, Perez had swelling near some scratches on his right leg.
Doctors believe that the Vibrio bacteria, which is often found in warmer waters where the river meets the sea, is behind his infection.
VNF is referred to as a flesh-eating bacteria because the infection results in tissue damage and death. "They have blisters, cuts and sores".
Perez's daughter, Dilena Perez-Dilan, said that her father's leg turned "practically [a] brown, blackish color" before his condition deteriorated further, according to WPVI. He's able to breathe on his own and communicate with his family, according to the outlet.
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Perez has Parkinson's disease, which could put him at greater risk for this type of an infection.
The Department of Health says it only sees about 200 cases of the disease each year. Vibrio usually infects a person who eats raw or undercooked shellfish but can also sicken a person who has an open wound in salt water.
"It can be risky and we don't know what we're getting into when we get in there", Perez-Dilan told WPVI.
"Typically, when you get an infection like this, it enters through an existing wound and can spread throughout the bloodstream and can cause other complications such as necrotizing fasciitis, which he unfortunately got", said Cumberland County Health Officer Megan Sheppard. "And then another friend of (Perez) that goes fishing there, he now has a baseball-size swelling of his elbow, and that's where he's been going". We think water is safe. "That's why they do use boots - people use boots and covers to protect themselves".
"He's been praising God nonstop", Perez-Dilan said.