A 26-year-old man recently died after contracting a rare, deadly bacterial infection while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa, officials confirmed today.
The victim, Cason Yeager, who is from Lake County, died on June 16, only two days after he went swimming, his mother Karen Yeager told local station WTSP.
"This has been a nightmare for me, to say the least, and nobody should have to go through this," Karen Yeager said, adding she wants to spread awareness that even healthy people can fall victim to the bacteria that killed her son -- Vibrio vulnificus.
Yeager's death is Florida's fourth Vibrio vulnificus fatality this year, Florida Department of Health spokeswoman Mara Burger told ABC News today, adding that his death comes after a previous warning the department made about the bacteria.
Vibrio vulnificus is a naturally occurring bacteria that is a bit more active in the summer, according to Anne Gayle Ellis, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Health in Hernando County.
The bacteria is often incorrectly referred to as "flesh-eating" bacteria, Ellis told ABC News. However, the bacterium can cause infections that may lead to skin breakdown, ulceration and possible fatal complications in immunocompromised people, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Karen Yeager told WTSP her son seemed healthy. Now, she said she wants people to be aware of the dangers in the water.
"I'm not telling anyone don't go into the water," Karen Yeager said. "Just do your due diligence and make sure that you're not going to harm yourself."