4 cases of vibrio confirmed in Mobile County; one man passes away

Updated: Jul. 27, 2022 at 5:30 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The danger from the bacteria vibrio vulnificus is even more apparent tonight. A local man died after being infected.

75-year-old Joe Pledger passed away two weeks after coming into contact with the flesh-eating bacteria off Pensacola Beach. His daughter-in-law, Crystal, says a small cut on Pledger’s leg became infected.

Vibrio is common and found naturally in warm waters along the Gulf Coast. The Mobile County Health Department advises people to be aware of possible symptoms.

“Seek treatment early. Don’t wait and think that it’s just a normal bout of food poisoning- in some of our older and more fragile community members it can be a serious illness, so we want you to seek treatment early,” said Rendi Murphree, Epidemiologist of the MCHD.

The CDC estimates that 80,000 people become sick with vibrio each year, but only 100 people die from their infection. In addition to an open wound, vibrio can also come from eating raw or undercooked oysters.

The environmental group, Mobile Bay Keeper, has a blog for people wanting to learn more.

“Most importantly, the blog highlights how you can reduce exposure by understanding if you have contributing health factors to start with,” said Cassie Bates, Program Coordinator for Mobile Bay Keeper.

Joe Pledger’s daughter-in-law, Crystal, wants people to take vibrio seriously.

FOX10 News extends their thoughts and prayers to the Pledger family during this time. For vibrio updates and resources, you can visit the link below.

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