US & Canada

US man dies after flesh-eating bacterium infects new tattoo

The crucifix tattoo became infected by a common flesh-eating bacterium after swimming Image copyright PARKLAND HEALTH & HOSPITAL SYSTEM AND UT SOUTHWEST
Image caption The crucifix tattoo became infected by a common flesh-eating bacterium after swimming

A Texas man has died two months after contracting a flesh-eating bacterium through a new tattoo on his leg, medical officials say.

The man, who has not been identified, had received a tattoo with the words "Jesus is my life" five days before going for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico.

The man was then admitted to a Dallas hospital complaining of severe pains nearby to the tattoo on his calf.

Doctors advise that new tattoos be kept clean in order to prevent infection.

The man had a history of alcohol cirrhosis of the liver, and reportedly told doctors that he drank six beers daily.

Doctors at the Parkland Memorial Hospital put the man on life support 24 hours after he was admitted, as he went into septic shock.

Doctors say he tested positive for the flesh-eating bacterium Vibrio vulnificus.

The British Medical Journal reports that the pathogen is common in the Gulf of Mexico's coastal waters, and the risks of infection rises during warmer months.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, V. vulnificus causes 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths each year in the US with most infections being attributed to eating raw shellfish.

Medical professionals advise that new tattoos be covered during bathing, and that people avoid swimming after getting new ink.

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