An unidentified man contracted a flesh-eating infection and died after swimming in the Gulf of Mexico with a new tattoo. He reportedly ignored warnings regarding the risks of swimming with a fresh tattoo, and ultimately developed sepsis in the area near the new ink after first suffering from fever, chills, and a rash.
As reported by Metro, the 31-year-old man got a tattoo featuring a crucifix and a pair of praying hands on his right calf. Just five days later, he decided to go swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.
Typically, the instructions accompanying a new tattoo recommend not swimming or soaking the area for at least two weeks, suggesting the man likely ignored the advice of his tattoo artist.
After developing the initial rash along with a fever and chills, the area soon turned purple. The man was admitted to the hospital and doctors immediately suspected a vibrio vulnificus infection, to which the patient would have been particularly susceptible based on his previously diagnosed cirrhosis of the liver.
Within 24 hours of being admitted, the man was placed on life-support as his organs had begun to fail as a result of septic shock.
He remained in the hospital for two weeks, even showing some signs of improvement, before his kidneys failed, resulting in death.
Vibriosis is estimated to cause approximately 80,000 illnesses in the US each year, resulting in around 100 deaths annually. The infection is typically acquired after consuming raw or undercooked seafood that is harboring the bug or by exposing an open wound to contaminated seawater.
During the tattooing process, the skin is damaged to place the ink, resulting in an open wound until the healing process is complete.