OCEAN CITY, MD (WNCT) – A 67-year-old man has died after his family says he contracted a flesh-eating bacteria on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Mike Funk was transported to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center after he started complaining of leg pain. After arriving at the hospital, his leg started to swell up along with kidney failure.
His wife, Marsha Funk is still shocked something like this is in the water.
“people should be concerned. Most of those, we can say either come from wound infections, skin infections, ingestion, consumption of raw or under-cooked shellfish,” said
It was confirmed that Funk had an open wound while playing in the water. Maryland health officials won’t comment on the specific case, but say they deal with at least 30 to 50 reports of the bacteria each year, some fatal.
“This year, we’re running a little on the high side of that number,” said Dr. Clifford Mitchell, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Doctors say the bacteria lives in warm salt waters, generally impacting people with weak immune systems.They also urge people to be more cautious, saying those with wounds should cover them up when going in the water, or avoid going in altogether.