Flesh-Eating Bacteria Harvey Legacy
Along with the flood damage, mold, mildew, mountains of garbage, cost of repairs and replacement and unease about “the next time,” Harvey has left behind the appalling legacy of flesh-eating bacteria which has killed one Houston-area woman and severely injured an adult male former first-responder. According to a report issued on October 11th, the Missouri City man received a mosquito bite on his wrist which became inflamed while helping during Harvey. He didn’t think much about it at first because he’d been handling numerous materials in flood waters around the city performing rescues. But, the morning after he initially noticed it, he realized the pain had increased dramatically and the red inflamed “rash” had spread across his wrist to the other side of his hand. At that point he sought medical treatment and now, 3 surgeries, 11 days in the hospital and minus a large portion of the top of his hand, he is a grateful survivor of the potentially lethal bacteria which can enter any sort of cut, abrasion or skin rupture to quickly cause horrific damage.
According to Dr. Peter Holtz, Dean of the National School of Tropical Diseases at the Baylor College of Medicine, roughly six deaths were recorded from this bacteria after Katrina, and it is a common problem in major flood events involving large discharges of raw sewage, pollution, garbage-laced water runoff and dirty collecting water, all of which Harvey produced in massive abundance. The victim is not sorry he stayed to help his neighbors and considers himself to be lucky to have only lost part of his hand, and not his life. But, he sure cautions others to use gloves, and any other protective materials available when dealing with storm refuse.