South Korean Man’s Arm Amputated After Infection From Eating Sushi

An elderly South Korean man had his forearm amputated after being infected by a life-threatening bacteria that he acquired from eating raw seafood.

The 71-year-old man was rushed to the hospital in Jeonju, South Korea in July. He had a two-day fever and was under excruciating pain that developed 12 hours after eating raw seafood, according to The New England Journal of Medicine.

The elderly man, who has a history of type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension and was undergoing hemodialysis for end-stage renal disease, developed blood-filled blisters measuring 3.5 centimeters by 4.5 centimeters on the palm of his left hand, and extreme swelling on the back of his hand and forearm.

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Doctors immediately performed surgery to drain the fluid from the blisters. Upon extraction, the doctors tested the fluid and discovered that he was infected with Vibrio vulnificus, an invasive and extremely virulent Gram-negative bacteria related to the species that causes cholera, IFL Science reported.

Doctors then treated the man with a series of intravenous antibiotics. However, after 25 days, he developed skin lesions that later turned into necrotic ulcers. Attending doctors put the man under the knife once again to amputate his forearm to save his life.

Fortunately, the operation was a success and the patient was discharged from the hospital without any complications.

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According to the report from The Korean Journal of Internal Medicine, Vibrio vulnificus infection is becoming a public health concern in South Korea and Taiwan. Hundreds of cases occur between June and November every year.

Patients often develop septicemia or blood poisoning, which can be acquired by eating contaminated or raw seafood and having open wounds exposed to contaminated seawater, the report said. People with medical conditions such as compromised immune system may have a higher chance of developing complications once infected.

Images via The New England Journal of Medicine

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