Destin, Fla. - A Memphis man is dead after doctors say he contracted a flesh eating bacteria while swimming in the waters off Destin Beach this weekend.
The victims daughter says her father did not have any open wounds.
She wrote in a Facebook post that he was a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy which doctors say made him susceptible to the disease.
Cheryl Bennett Wiygul was surprised to learn that fact and made her father’s story public saying, “If I can help one person, then it is worth it.”
Wiygul is asking officials to post more signs on the beach and in state parks about the bacteria and who may be at risk.
“There needs to be signs posted at every beach, every city and state park, and every bayou stating that “due to naturally occurring bacteria in the water people with open wounds or compromised immune systems should not enter.” Wiygul wrote.
Her father, Dave Bennett, swam at the beach with the family and less than 12 hours later felt sick, suffering from fever, chills and some cramping.
On the way home to Memphis, he started having severe pain in his legs so they went straight to the hospital where doctors discovered a large black sore on his back.
Mr. Bennett was moved into ICU when he became septic and within 48 hours of swimming in the Gulf, he passed away leaving his family in shock.
Lab results confirmed he died of Vibro vulnificus, which manifests into necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh-eating bacteria.
Wiygul writing in her post, “I feel like I should have known and that is something I will live with for the rest of my life.”
According to the CDC , those who are most at-risk of contracting the bacteria are those with diabetes, kidney disease, cirrhosis of the liver, caner, and anyone with a compromised immune system.
The CDC also says that eating raw seafood, particularly oysters, and exposing open wounds to salt water or brackish water can also increase a person’s chance for getting vibriosis.