Michael Funk was cleaning crab pots outside of his Ocean City, Maryland, condominium on Sept. 11. He began to feel ill and went to a hospital. A surgeon removed dead skin from his leg. Eventually he was flown to shock trauma and his leg was amputated.
Four days after he was cleaning his crab pots, he was dead.
The cause? A flesh-eating bacteria found in warm, brackish water called Vibrio vulnificus.
Vibrio vulnificus comes in a few different forms. Its least serious version afflicts about 80,000 people a year. Most of those people contract it from undercooked seafood.
Under 200 people a year contract Vibrio in its vulnificus form only affects about 200 people a year. A cut or tear in the skin when in contact with the bacteria is almost certainly fatal. Only about half of those afflicted wind up surviving.
Ocean City does not warn patrons about the bacteria, but other states do.
It's like something out of a horror movie.
Funk's wife was disappointed by Ocean City's lack of information about the bacteria.
"I really feel they kept it quiet because it's a tourist resort," said Marcia Funk.
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