The Willistonian, Est. 1881

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Flesh-Eating Bacteria Kills Hurricane Harvey Rescuer

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A 31-year-old man died on Oct. 16 after being diagnosed with a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection, a result of toxic floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey.

Josue Zurita, a carpenter in Galveston, Texas, was helping out by repairing several homes damaged by the flooding of Hurricane Harvey. On Oct. 10, Zurita came into the hospital with a seriously infected wound on his upper left arm and was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis. Six days later, he passed away.

Several types of bacteria can cause necrotizing fasciitis, according to the National Institutes of Health. Such an infection can spread quickly and kill the body’s soft tissue, especially if it infects a wound that is not properly cared for. Necrotizing fasciitis is a result of the floodwaters that covered the streets of Texas. Hurricane Harvey hit Texas on August 25, tearing up through the state of Texas, killing more than 80 people and destroying at least 176,000 homes.

Winds Gusts were up to 130 MPH destroying anything in its path. More than 300,000 customers on the Texas Gulf Coast were left without power.

Health officials urge those working on Hurricane recovery efforts to wash their hands often with soap and water and seek needed medical attention quickly if they sustain a cut or a wound.

Zurita’s death follows that of Nancy Reed, a 77-year-old Houston-area woman who died in September from ncrotizing fasciitis related to Harvey floodwaters. Since 2010, about 700 to 1,100 cases occur each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease and Control prevention.

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Flesh-Eating Bacteria Kills Hurricane Harvey Rescuer