Angel Perez spent July 2 doing one of his favorite things: crabbing. But a few hours after his time in New Jersey’s Maurice River, the father’s limbs became red and raw. Then came the blisters and scarring.
Now, 60-year-old Perez is fighting for his life in the hospital and might have to his limbs amputated, his family told New Jersey Advance Media.
Perez, of Millville, contracted Vibrio necrotizing fasciitis, a rare bacterial infection, and is in critical condition at Cooper University Hospital, New Jersey Advance Media reported. He’s able to breathe on his own and communicate with his family, according to the outlet.
Necrotizing fasciitis is a bacterial skin infection which kills soft tissue — and quickly, often leading to death, according to the CDC. Vibrio is specifically contracted after consuming raw or undercooked seafood or exposing a wound to seawater, the CDC says.
The CDC also encourages people to avoid salty water if they have an open wound or scrapes.
“The infection has spread to his blood… his skin; you can see it spreading from his feet all the way above his kneecap. His forearms are black in color; they have blisters, cuts and sores,” his daughter Dilena Perez-Dilan told the news outlet.
Perez-Dilan added that doctors have yet to determine if the antibiotics are working. If they don’t, Perez — who also has Parkinson’s disease — might have at least three of his limbs amputated.
She told WPVI that she wants people to know that “as much as we need water, it can be poisonous.”
“It can be dangerous and we don’t know what we’re getting into when we get in there,” Perez-Dilan told WPVI. “That’s why they do use boots — people use boots and covers to protect themselves.”
Despite Perez’s grim prognosis, Perez-Dilan told New Jersey Advance Media that her father has “been praising God non-stop.”
She added, “He’s just happy to have a second chance.”