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Man dies from rare flesh-eating bacteria after helping with Hurricane Ian cleanup

Kendall Smoes says her father had a giant coronary heart crammed with love for a lot of of his family and friends. So, when her dad, James Hewitt, came upon a pal lately lost his father and wanted assist cleansing up his house that Hurricane Ian destroyed, he traveled 1,300 miles to go and assist.

That the assistance would come with a price, although, as Hewitt died days later after contracting flesh-eating bacteria in Florida waters. 

Smoes stated he left Grand Rapids, Michigan, and arrived in Fort Myers, Florida, on October 5.

“A friend of his needed help,” Leah DeLano, Hewitt’s fiancée, advised FOX Television Stations. “This friend lost his father 10 days prior, and that father had property (house and boat) in Naples, Florida. This property suffered significant hurricane damage.”

On October 8, Hewitt was helping his pal and others clear up from Ian when he fell right into a canal and injured his leg. He was stated to not have thought a lot of it, simply cleaned the wound and continued to assist.

“He cut up his leg somehow, and that is how the bacteria entered his body,” DeLano stated. 

That subsequent day, he awoke in excessive ache and went to the hospital.

“Upon arriving at the hospital emergency department, they determined he had an infection in his blood known as vibrio vulnificus, that is caused by a saltwater bacteria,” Smoes stated. “Vibrio is a bacteria that has a very high mortality rate, especially in those that have weakened immune systems, like my Dad.”

DeLano advised FOX that her fiancée died on October 11. She stated the hospital employees was in a position to preserve him alive till Smoes and her brother Joshua may come to Florida to see him. 

Leah Venlet-Delano and James Hewitt.
James Hewitt reduce up his leg after falling right into a canal, which led to an an infection of vibrio vulnificus.
Leah Venlet-Delano/Facebook

“Jim spent tireless efforts in helping others and making friends,” DeLano stated. “He had a vibrancy for life that was unmatched and had a love for me and his family that was his number one priority.”

Hewitt’s members of the family arrange a GoFundMe to assist cover hospital payments and cremation companies.

Flesh-eating bacteria instances up in Florida following Hurricane Ian

Dr. Peter Hotez joined FOX Weather to speak about Vibrio Vulnificus, a flesh-eating bacteria that’s on the rise in Florida following Hurricane Ian.

Doctors inform FOX Weather that instances of vibrio vulnificus, generally generally known as a flesh-eating bacterium, have risen since Hurricane Ian hit the Florida coast in late September and sometimes rise after catastrophic climate occasions.

“My colleagues and I have been watching very closely, looking at the spikes in bacteria,” environmental engineer Tracy Fanara advised FOX Weather Wednesday. “Vibrio vulnificus is a bacteria that we’re seeing an uptick in, just like we saw after Hurricane Irma.”

James Hewitt
Hewitt’s household arrange a GoFundMe marketing campaign in his honor.

Dr. Peter Hotez from the National School of Tropical Medicine says that the bacteria stay on the Gulf Coast.

“The abundance of this bacteria has been increasing over the last few years because of two factors,” Hotez stated. “One is warming climate, but also because of some lower pockets of salinity in the region because of sewage dumping to coastal waterways.”

People wading in floodwaters with cuts and a few consuming shellfish are contributors to individuals getting these flesh-eating bacteria, medical doctors warn

“It’s really important to take care of it as soon as possible within the first 72 hours because, after that, your chances are not good,” Fanara stated.

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