An unimaginable scare for a Madison man after he came in contact with an aggressive bacteria at the Ross Barnett Reservoir that landed him in the hospital.
A Memorial Day weekend celebration took a turn for the worse. Flesh eating bacteria attacked 28-year-old Justin Owen while he was at the Ross Barnett Reservoir.
“I was walking along the bank and saw a friend of mine out in the water,” said Owen. “I was walking to his boat and the next thing I know I just slipped on a rock. It didn’t cut me bad. I didn’t think anything of it.”
The puncture from the rock was barely visible.
“Right there, about the size of my pinky a little but smaller than my nail,” said Owen. “I went to the doctor that day because I thought I had a real bad sprain. They flushed it out and sent me home. The next day I had to go back because it was hurting so bad.”
Days and several doctor visits later for unbearable pain, doctors discovered the puncture was Narcotizing Fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria he contracted from the reservoir.
“They looked at it and they said where the puncture was it was burrowed down to my ankle and almost to my joint,” said Owen. “They said it was a bunch of dead tissue that the bacteria was feeding off of.”
After surgery and 11 stitches, Owen said he is lucky to still have his leg and foot.
“I grew up out at the reservoir and a lot of my friends hang out there,” added Owen. “A lot of people don’t know it exists at all. I just feel like it needed to be out there and people need to know about it.”
It’s important you protect yourself from bacteria in bodies of water like the reservoir. Keep all cuts and open wounds dry and covered with a bandage. If you do cut yourself while in the water immediately wash your wound with fresh water and don’t delay first aid treatment.
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