Florida health officials have warned beach-goers to avoid wading into the water with open wounds and eating raw or undercooked seafood after a man died of a bacterial infection hours after crabbing.
Henry “Butch” Konietzky, 59, was crabbing in Halifax River when he was exposed to vibrio vulnificus, a bacterium normally found in warm seawater, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
“I am actually really shocked,” nearby resident Kamryn Eversole told WFTV, ABC News’ affiliate in Orlando and Daytona Beach, Fla. “I’m in this water all the time and I guess I would have been more careful if I had known this earlier.”
The bacteria causes blood infections in people who go into the water with open wounds or who eat raw or undercooked seafood, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. More than 70 percent of people who become infected have “distinctive bulbous skin lesions,” and about half of vibrio vulnificus infections are fatal.
In Konietzky’s case, he became infected when he waded out into the water with open wounds, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. His daughter told the newspaper that Konietzky had lesions on his legs a few hours after crabbing, prompting his wife to take him to the hospital. But it was too late and he died hours later of kidney failure.
There have been 26 cases of vibrio vulnificus statewide this year, including nine deaths, according to WFTV.