An Australian doctor has shared a warning for beachgoers to be careful this summer, after treating a man following an ocean swim with something nasty lodged under the skin of his foot.
Melbourne-based GP, Dr Michael Mrozinski, who goes by the TikTok user of ‘Dr Michael Says’, treated a patient who had a piece of oyster lodged in his foot.
“I had a guy come in to see me,” Dr Mrozinski said.
“He had a sore heel and had been walking on it for about two weeks, just limping around on it.”
Dr Michael explained the patient had been ocean swimming and surfing around live coral and oyster shells, which are commonly found on many Australian and New Zealand beaches.
“When I looked a bit closer, I found a massive bit of oyster,” Dr Mrozinski said.
“It had been sitting under the skin for the last two weeks.”
Dr Michael then went on to explain that coral and oysters carry a nasty bacteria, called vibrio.
“Shells and coral carry a really nasty bacteria called vibrio. If you don’t get a wound washed out properly and get given the right antibiotics, then you could end up with a really serious infection.”
Vibrio can cause a necrotizing (flesh-eating) infection when an open wound is exposed to warm seawater with high concentrations of the bug. It can also cause septicemia if consumed in raw or undercooked seafood, particularly in raw oysters.
This infection can be deadly with studies showing one in five people who are infected with the vibrio bacteria die and others require limb amputations and intensive care.
The comments section of Dr Michael’s video was filled with those sharing their own experiences with vibrio and tips on how to avoid the infection.
One user wrote; “this is why I wear aqua shoes at the beach.”
While another said; “My friend’s dad has some of his finger amputated after getting a cut on coral, people just don’t realise how bad oyster and coral cuts are.”
There are several signs and symptoms of Vibrio vulnificus infection you can look out for according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Watery diarrhoea, often accompanied by stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting and fever.
- Fever redness, pain, swelling, warmth, discolouration and discharge from the wound.