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Old 06-06-2018, 10:26 AM   #1
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Waterborne bacteria

Sharing our story so others are informed.
This spring while cruising back north from Florida my wife contracted what the doctors believe is Vibrio. Based on its progression we believe it was from wet fenders or lines when we were in Charleston SC. She had an abrasion on her left big toe and a small cut on a toe on her right foot. Within a few days the toes began to blister and within a week it spread to most of her toes. We went to and infectious disease doctor and he put her on three oral antibiotics for 10 days. After ten days and little improvement and continued spreading she was hospitalized for four days and given three IV antibiotics. The IVs did the trick and things improved. She was then sent home with a Picc line so she could continue IV antibiotics for another week at home.
The lesson learned for me is to be aware of any cuts or abrasions when in contact with warm waters. If you do have contact immediately rinse with a mild Clorox and water solution.
In some cases people die quickly if this stuff gets into their system, especially if they have liver disease or a compromise immune system.

https://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/index.html
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:48 AM   #2
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Good to hear your wife is doing better. Good reminders about feet in particular, that is where the trouble usually starts.
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:11 PM   #3
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Glad to hear it was caught and corrected in time. I always though salt water was pretty clean for bacteria since a lot of community pools when I was a kid used salt water instead of chlorine to keep germs down. Great post...thanks!!
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:48 PM   #4
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My wife scraped her hand on a barnacle last july in the Chesapeake Bay resulting in dark blisters. She tried antibiotic cream, no luck. Dr prescribed meds and it very slowly when away. We were told its commonly found in home aquariums water.
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:55 PM   #5
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Thank you very much for posting about your wife's horrible experience to alert us all. Washing cuts with a mild bleach solution after contacting seawater seems like a very good idea.


I was surprised to see on the Vibrio website you linked that people who are taking a medicine to reduce stomach acid are also more susceptible to this:
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:57 PM   #6
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It's scary and 1 in 4 die from it. There are other horrible bacteria too. Don't take any injury or infection lightly. Assume they're all life threatening.
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Old 06-06-2018, 01:09 PM   #7
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I wear heavy rubber gloves when cleaning sea strainers. You should too. Hope your wife is fine now.
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Old 06-06-2018, 01:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Miz Trom View Post
Thank you very much for posting about your wife's horrible experience to alert us all. Washing cuts with a mild bleach solution after contacting seawater seems like a very good idea.


I was surprised to see on the Vibrio website you linked that people who are taking a medicine to reduce stomach acid are also more susceptible to this:
I missed that. That must be for ingesting it into your system, like eating oysters. Lots of people on Nexium, Prilosec etc.
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Old 06-06-2018, 01:20 PM   #9
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I wear heavy rubber gloves when cleaning sea strainers. You should too. Hope your wife is fine now.
Thanks, she is doing well.
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Old 06-06-2018, 01:30 PM   #10
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Our bodies are an ecosystem (about 1/2 the cells in and on our bodies are not our own)

Glad it all worked out.
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:50 PM   #11
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Wow... So glad your wife is ok, but that must have been a very scary experience. Thanks for the heads up....
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:08 PM   #12
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I got a nasty infection once under similar circumstances. It started with a little infection on a cut on my feet (from scuba diving with fins but not booties, with sand getting stuck between the fin and my foot, abrading my feet in the process (but not badly enough for me to give it a second thought). Turned into a nasty case of blood poisoning. IV antibiotics did the trick, but even after my first courses, the infection (marked by bright red swollen legs) continued to spread at an inch an hour. (I market the line with indelible ink every hour -- the doctors were impressed.) Anyway, I was out of the country when I first developed symptoms but thought I could/should wait until returning a few days later to the states. By the time I got on the plane, I couldn't wear shoes and my feet were a mess. I have since been told that I was lucky to survive. Now, anytime I get a cut that is exposed to seawater, I wash it thoroughly with hydrogen peroxide. Stings like an SOB, but it is comforting to imagine the germs hurting even worse.
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Old 06-06-2018, 11:32 PM   #13
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Thank you for the reminder, since we're entering the warm water season here on the Chesapeake. I'm glad your wife is on the mend and I showed this thread to mine so she would be careful. I've gotten infected twice with a very aggressive water-borne disease. The first time ,I knelt down in a bilge and put a small puncture through the skin on my knee while cleaning a sea water strainer and another getting sea water in an existing cut while pulling a line out of the water. Both times it only took a few hours before the swelling started. As soon as I called the doctors office they requested I get in ASAP. Luckily the antibiotics did the trick for both cases.
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Old 06-07-2018, 04:01 AM   #14
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I use to dive in the tropics a lot. It's common to get an ear infection if you don't flush out your ears or wear some sort of plugs. Also bare skin on coral will quickly get infected unless drenched.
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:10 AM   #15
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Thanks so much for sharing and really glad to hear your wife is doing better
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:18 AM   #16
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PICC lines are no fun. Shower prep is a hassle. Big-ass Tegaderm patches are helpful, if pricey. Amazon has some lycra stretchy PICC line sleeves that help keep the end from getting caught against your clothes.

I remind anyone swimming to never touch or brush up against anything like a piling or the boat running gear. That and use the transom shower hose to rinse off right after getting out of the water.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:31 AM   #17
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Thank you for the reminder, since we're entering the warm water season here on the Chesapeake.
Calvert county (Maryland) has issued some warnings in the past regarding vibrio.

MD DNR has a website with water info.

EOTB Swimming and Beach Health Links

There's also one for Maryland beaches.

Maryland Healthy Beaches program provides information about the condition of public beaches.

And specific info regarding vibrio.

Learn About Vibrio Baceria

Bottom line, no open wounds going into water and immediately clean any should you suffer an injury. We keep hand sanitizer on board, in addition to a freshly stocked first aid kit.
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:29 AM   #18
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I had no idea, thanks for posting. I'm thinking all along I'm better off in the ocean to escape suda monis!
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Old 06-07-2018, 12:04 PM   #19
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Thanks for sharing this Dave. So glad Betsy is doing well. Enjoy your Summer.

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Old 06-07-2018, 01:17 PM   #20
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Thanks, she is doing well.
One question. Was she wearing shoes or barefoot on the boat?
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