Man loses leg to flesh-eating bacteria in Galveston

Brian Parrott/
Brian Parrott/ Photo

A Houston-area man lost part of his leg after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria in the waters off Galveston Island.

Brian Parrott, 50, of Jacinto City east of Houston had taken his family to the beach a week ago Sunday, started having flu-like symptoms Monday, noticed his leg was red and swollen on Tuesday, developed boils on Wednesday and went to the hospital on Thursday, when doctors amputated his leg below the knee.

Parrott, his son and grandchildren spent at least two hours in the water, his mother, Donna Dailey, told KHOU.com.

Parrott has since been moved out of ICU into a room at LBJ Hospital in Houston, she said, and the family has set up a gofundme account to raise money to help with expenses.

“They don’t know if they’ll have to go back in or not. They hope not. We’ll have to wait and see,” she told the Star-Telgram. “As long as it stays where it’s at, he’ll make it.”

Parrott has diabetes and might have had a scratch on his foot, she said, which would have compounded the problem.

Vibrio, commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria, is found in coastal waters and can infect an open cut or sore exposed to the waters, according to a spokesman for the Galveston County Health District. It’s also spread by uncooked shellfish.

Most of the time, people who get the infection recover after treatment and don’t experience long-term complications, spokesman Scott Packard said. People with underlying health conditions who become infected are at higher risk of a more severe outcome, he said.

Cases such as Parrott’s are rare, Packard said. “Food-related cases are much more common.”

There have been 24 cases of vibrio in Texas so far this year, said Christine Mann of the Texas Department of State Health Services. There were 102 cases last year.

Parrott’s family just wants people to be aware of the dangers of swimming in untreated waters, especially gulf waters after the recent flooding in South Texas.

“We’re saying be careful of the water,” Dailey said. “We’re trying to get the word out because the water’s really bad now.”

Tom Uhler: 817-390-7832, @tomuh