Ohio man contracts flesh-eating bacteria in Florida


TAMPA, Florida (CNN) – An Ohio man is speaking out after contracting a rare flesh-eating bacteria while visiting family in Florida.

Warning: Some of the pictures in this video are graphic.

The pictures are hard to look at — Barry Briggs’ left foot swelled up as black blisters took over.

“Once this thing took off, and it takes off quickly apparently, it was going one inch an hour up my leg,” he said. 

Briggs said he was visiting his brother-in-law. They were out at Weedon Island in the bay. This was last month during spring break. 

His foot swelled up after that boating trip, but he was still able to fly home to Ohio before being rushed to the hospital.

Luckily, doctors were able to save his foot. 

“I’m incredibly fortunate to have all my toes, to have my foot, to be alive,” he said. 

Briggs was diagnosed with Strep A, Necrotizing Fasciitis. It usually enters through a small wound.

It’s a rare infection that lives up to its nickname of eating away your skin.

“It looked a little bit like raw meat,” Briggs said. 

All of this is extremely rare, but ABC Action News is now sharing two stories in back-to-back months — one in the Gulf of Mexico and the other in Tampa Bay.

“One in a million, and it’s not the lottery I wanted to win,” Briggs said. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there are 700 to 1,200 cases a year in the U.S. The CDC believes that it’s under-reported.

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