Chesterfield man gets flesh-eating bacteria on Virginia Beach vacation

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — After a vacation in Virginia Beach, a Chesterfield man is fighting flesh-eating bacteria that nearly cost him his life.

Charles Ballard Sr. was diagnosed in Richmond with Vibrio Vulnificus –known also as flesh-eating bacteria.

Now health officials are reminding people to stay out of the water if they have an open cut or sore, because it makes contracting the rare bacteria more likely.

Ballard reported that he got tiny cuts on him feet from rocks while wading in the ocean.

The Virginia Beach Department of Health maintains they haven’t had any cases of flesh-eating bacteria reported since 2014. This most recent case wasn`t counted there because he was diagnosed in Richmond after sores broke out on his body.

It is reported that his leg was amputated. 

Health officials said they wouldn’t issue any warnings for this.

“No we wouldn`t, because the Vibrio is naturally occurring in the water,” an official said. “It`s there, so there`s no reason to test for it.”

Vibrio is most dangerous for people with compromised immune systems. Most people recover after a few days, others face amputation and some individuals die from the infection.

Officials said swimmers with open cuts should either stay out of the water, or wrap up cuts with some waterproof bandages.

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