Another case of flesh-eating bacteria (necrotising fasciitis) sends Tarpon Springs fisherman to the hospital.
Necrotizing fasciitis is somewhat rare, but it’s called “flesh-eating” because the infection progresses so rapidly. George Billiris got it while wading in the Gulf of Mexico.
It was just another day for fisherman George Billiris when he took his grandson out in the water for the day.
Billiris owns the St. Nicholas Boat Line, a family run sponge diving operation in historic Tarpon Springs. So he’s no newcomer to the Gulf of Mexico and the dangers of the open water. But he never thought he’d be one to develop a potentially life-threatening infection from flesh-eating bacteria.
Billiris, 63, said he and his grandson were standing in knee-deep gulf waters while fishing near the Anclote power plant along the Pinellas and Pasco county line on July 22. A canal feeds into the gulf in that area, making the water more brackish than the open sea.
“I had a couple of scabs on my leg but didn’t think about it,” he said.
Within 24 hours after the fishing trip, Billiris said he started to feel an intense burning sensation on his calf. Not long after that he developed a fever and chills. So he went to Mease Countryside Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a vibrio vulnificus infection.
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