A 68-year-old man had to have his leg amputated after contracting flesh-eating bacteria while swimming at Hammonasset Beach State Park on the Long Island Sound in Madison, Connecticut, about 25 miles east of New Haven.
Bruce Kagan of New Britain, Connecticut, went swimming at the park in late June and was admitted to the Hospital of Central Connecticut days later, according to NBC Connecticut. The cause of the infection is believed to be from a small cut in his leg.
According to health officials at the Mayo Clinic, “flesh-eating disease occurs when bacteria enter the body through a break in the skin. People with a weakened immune system can be at greater risk of developing this condition. The condition spreads quickly. Symptoms include blisters, fever, fatigue, and pain worse than a person would expect based on the wound's appearance.”
Kagan went through several surgeries in an attempt to save his leg, but earlier this month, doctors determined that they would have to amputate the leg above the knee to keep the infection from spreading.
Flesh-eating bacteria has been making its way up the East Coast due to climate change, according to a recently released study. While rare, there have been at least five cases of infections this year, the same amount as in 2017 and 2018 combined.
In those cases, one patient died, while others suffered catastrophic injuries, including one man who had four limbs amputated. The authors noted that each of the patients had compromised immune systems at the time they became infected.
- Daily Voice story from late June: Flesh-Eating Bacteria Could Spread To East Coast Beaches As Oceans Warm, New Report Says
"It's all because of a little cut. It's all it was, a little cut. Nothing more, nothing less," Kagan told NBC Connecticut. "All I can say is that I am by far one of the luckiest men in the whole world, by far.
"I don't know how I made it, but I did. My life changed within one moment saying 'yeah, it's going to be okay.' Next moment, 'we don't know if you're going to be OK. I've got 20, 25 years left on this Earth. I'm going to make it good. That's what I'm going to do."
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