Today Newsweek brings the world a report in The New England Journal Of Medicine, which details the case of a 71-year-old man in South Korea whose arm was amputated after he got a bacterial infection from eating sushi.
The man sought emergency treatment after two days of fever and “being hit with “excruciating pain” in his left hand,” according to Newsweek. He’d eaten raw seafood 12 hours before the pain began. Doctors found “a deep purple blister” that was 1.4 by 1.8 inches on his left hand.
The medical staff tried really damn hard to fight that terrifying nightmare illness, performing emergency surgery, but “his skin lesions developed into necrotic ulcers” and they were forced to amputate.
So what, pray tell, caused this situation?
Tests revealed the man’s hand was infected with vibrio vulnificus: a bacteria found in seawater which is from the same family as that which causes cholera. Vibrio vulnificus can be both foodborne and waterborne, and is most commonly passed on in seafood.
Oh, one more thing:
Oysters in particular are a high-risk food.
Newsweek notes that people with weakened immune systems are more likely to catch the illness. The piece also points out that weather—specifically “hurricanes, storm surges and coastal flooding that create brackish water where rivers meet the sea”—can increase the likelihood of infection spreading.
Newsweek reports that the disease can infect a wound or the blood (causing septicemia); in some cases, like this one, amputation is required to remove the dead tissue the disease can cause. The Takeout reports that one of its writers now has something new about which to worry needlessly.