CMR Wants to Better Inform Fishermen on Vibrio Dangers

Today, a Hancock County fisherman is recovering after the Mississippi Department of Health confirmed he contracted vibrio. The disease paralyzed and nearly killed him after a boating accident last week.
Now, Coast marine leaders are trying to inform fishermen of vibrio dangers to prevent this from happening again.
Renee Walker has been cleaning and maintaining boats for more than 25 years. It’s a demanding job that can sometimes be as unpredictable as the sea. “Lately, we’ve been more careful, taking a little more care because we don’t want to contract vibrio,” said Walker.
Isolated reports of vibrio cases in South Mississippi have travelled quickly through the boating and fishing industry. The latest victim is 61-year-old Ald Garcia who contracted the deadly bacteria while trying to cut loose a shrimping net snagged on an underwater barge in the Sound last week. While doing so, he scraped against barnacles, which led to the potentially fatal infection. After days of uncertainty, Garcia is responding well to treatment and it appears he will not lose his legs.
Walker says you can prepare for the worst at land or sea but nothing’s guaranteed, especially on the water. “What we do is, after we finishing putting our hands on the barnacles in salt water, we’ll go wash our hands using antibacterial soap or something like that,” Walker said.
Marine resource leaders say keeping the people that man and clean these boats safe is at the top of their list. And they believe they can do that by making sure they take the correct precautions while they’re out on the water and after accidents happen.
Department of Marine Resources Chief Scientific Officer Kelly Lucas said, “If you have an open cut, or a wound you need to be sure to cover that wound so as to limit infection by contact with the water.”
Commission on Marine Resources Commissioner Ernie Zimmerman said, “To educate people on how to respond to it may help save lives. Save limbs and or lives.”

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