Elderly Man Dies After Contracting a Flesh-Eating Bacteria Found in Coastal Waters

A man by the name of Sebek, from San Marcos Texas, passed on June 25 while on a boat fishing escapade in Turtle Bay, near Palacios. The 78-year-old man is alleged to have died after contracting a flesh-eating bacterium.

A young girl grieving her dad


Vibriosis Flesh-Eating Bacteria

According to Sebek’s daughter, her dad did not suffer any wound; neither was his immune system compromised in any way. Kim Sebek said that she is still shocked and in disbelief concerning the death of her dad. She continues to say the following about him, “Dad was a wonderful man who loved to hunt and fish and do things out in the water… We’ve been coming here (Turtle Bay) for years, and this is just an unfortunate thing that happened.”

A boat fishing trip turned tragic

It was on June 13 during the boat fishing trip that Sebek contracted the Vibrio bacteria, a deadly parasite that causes Vibriosis. Sebek was on vacation with his family when the tragedy occurred. He appeared unwell after the morning fishing activity with symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, chills, and vomiting. In the evening while at a local doctor’s place, the physicians said he suffered heat exhaustion. The following day, further diagnosis indicated that he had Vibriosis, said Kim Sebek.

His daughter said that Sebek had his arm and leg amputated, with his arm being “skinned like a deer”. He was also under an induced coma. Unfortunately, he passed on two weeks after contracting the disease.

What is Vibriosis, how do you contract it, and its symptoms?

Vibriosis is a disease caused by vibriosis bacteria. The bacteria dwell in coastal waters. The common species harmful to humans, especially in the United States are Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio vulnifucus, and Vibrio alginolytus. One contracts the vibriosis bacteria through eating raw shellfish or inappropriately storing seafood and then not cooking it well. Open wounds exposed to warm seawater with Vibrio also are a source of infection to the skin.

Once infected, you exhibit symptoms of food poisoning such as passing watery stool, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

According to the Center for Disease Control, you are at risk of contracting the disease if your immune system is compromised, and more so if you suffer from chronic liver disease.

A report from the CDC goes on to say that Sebek’s death was the most recent death as a result of the flesh-eating bacteria recently reported.

More statistics on Vibriosis in the United States

The disease is common between May and October when the water temperature is high, resulting in up to 80% of vibriosis infections.

An estimate from CDC’s agency website indicates that in the United States, over 80,000 disease incidences are brought about by Vibriosis. The most common disease-causing species is the Vibrio parahaemolyticus, responsible for 45,000 of the 80,000 illnesses yearly.

Quite a good number of patients with mild cases of the disease do recover within three days. But those with vibrio vulnificus; do become seriously sick needing intensive care or even amputation of their limbs. One in about five people dies within the first two days of sickness.


Amaro C., Biosca E. G. (1996). Vibrio vulnificus biotype 2, pathogeneic for eels, is also an opportunistic pathogen for humansAppl. Environ. Microbiol. 62, 1454.

Amaro C., Biosca E. G., Fouz R., Toranzo A. E., Garay E. (1994). Role of iron, capsule, and toxins in the pathogenicity of Vibrio vulnificus biotype 2 for miceInfect. Immun. 62, 759.




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