By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE AMERICAN tourist who claims he caught a deadly bacteria while vacationing in the Bahamas, is urging the Ministry of Health in the Bahamas to “take notice” of what happened to him.
Health officials have remained silent on the issue, and have yet to admit knowledge of a Bahamian man being treated in a private hospital for vibro vulnificus.
Despite repeated calls, e-mails and messages the Ministry has remained silent, neither confirming nor denying that the salt water borne bacteria is indeed now in Bahamian waters.
The visitor, who only wanted to be identified as Mark A, said he has no animosity towards the Bahamas or Bahamians, but the Ministry should pay attention to his story and make a statement about the bacteria.
He told The Tribune that he stayed at a resort in the Bahamas last month and went diving at several locations around the island. As soon as he got home on September 29, he said he noticed that his leg had started turning red.
“On September 30, dark red lesions started forming accompanied by a high fever and a very bad headache. That was enough to make me go to the emergency room on the evening of the 30th. They diagnosed me with cellulitis of unknown cause and they admitted me and started intra-venous antibiotics.
“They first mentioned vibrio (vulnificus) as a possible cause about three days into my treatment. I was released from the hospital on October 12 on oral antibiotics,” Mark A said.
“I am now showing symptoms of ingestion, so the doctors think the bacteria got into my skin through some insect bites on my ankle. It has been localised to my lower right leg, but almost covers the entire area. I was the only one in my family of four (me, wife, daughter, mother-in-law) to get sick. We did all the same things and ate the same things for the most part.”
The only difference, he said, is that he went diving at several different locations around the island.
“I will add the caveat that although my doctors originally told me the cause of my cellulitis was vibrio vulnificus, they also told me there was no way to be 100 per cent sure of the cause,” he said, adding that doctors told him he was lucky to be alive as his infection was very aggressive.
He posted his experience on Travel Advisor, where he insisted he would return to the Bahamas again in a few years – if his wife lets him.
Last week, the family of a Bahamian man fighting for his life in hospital claimed he contracted the bacteria while in coastal waters off Andros.
After the story appeared in The Tribune, Health Minister Perry Gomez acknowledged that he had heard “the rumour” of a Bahamian man having been infected, but has seen no evidence to prove it.
Dr Gomez added that he would be “very surprised” if the vibrio vulnificus is behind the man’s condition, as to his knowledge, the symptoms do not add up.