A Singaporean man had to cut off part of his right index finger after it became infected by flesh-eating bacteria. This happened when he pricked his finger while cleaning raw prawns that he had bought from a wet market.
In a report by The Straits Times, the victim said that this is not the first time he was pricked by prawns and he thought that this time was no different.
However, his finger began turning black the next day and he started experiencing a mild fever. After going to a 24-hour clinic in Toa Payoh, he was told to go to a hospital immediately.
The man then had to undergo surgery that same evening and was hospitalised for seven days after, including two days in the intensive care unit. Had the man waited another day to see the doctor, he could have lost his whole arm or even died as the bacteria had reached his armpit, according to the doctors that treated him.
The victim then urged others to be careful when cleaning raw prawns or seafood.
According to Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, Vibrio vulnificus is a kind of bacteria that may cause infections from eating raw or undercooked seafood. These infections can also happen through an open wound if the wound comes into contact with raw or undercooked seafood, its drippings or with saltwater.
“One species, Vibrio vulnificus, can even cause life-threatening wound infections. Many people with Vibrio vulnificus infection require intensive care or limb amputations, and about one in five people with this infection die, sometimes within a day or two of becoming ill,” the CDC says.
“Some Vibrio vulnificus infections lead to necrotizing fasciitis, a severe infection in which the flesh around an open wound dies. Some media reports call this kind of infection “flesh-eating bacteria,” even though necrotizing fasciitis can be caused by more than one type of bacteria.”