Local man hopes to shed light on flesh eating bacteria - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Local man hopes to shed light on flesh eating bacteria

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

A Bryan County man remains in critical condition Tuesday after his family says he contracted a flesh-eating bacteria after a fishing outing on the Ogeechee River.

Another man, who lives near the Ogeechee, felt compelled to share his family's experience, hoping to bring awareness to this life-threatening disease and restore peoples faith in the Ogeechee River.

It's been more than six years since Kit Yarbrough lost his first wife, Jennifer.

Jennifer was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, but it was during her battle in the hospital that Yarbrough says she contracted necrotizing fasciitis.

"Basically, it ate the flesh from the side of her body, from her arm pit down to her hip. It basically went through layers of skin and he had to cut those layers out and she had to have skin graphs," said Yarbrough.

First-hand knowledge of the same infection family members of Joseph Allen said he got after a fishing trip at Dashers Landing.

In light of Allen's case, Yarbrough is sharing his story hoping to inform people that this disease affects mostly those who already have a compromised immune system, like someone with cancer.

He also wants to shed light on the fact that it can be contracted almost anywhere, even a place you might not expect, like a hospital bed.

"The credibility of the river. We've already had the fish kill, and now we have this. I just don't want people to be scared to come to the river. This can be contracted from a gas station pump, to a door handle, to walking in somewhere to any kind of public facility," said Yarbrough.  

While he understands its nearly impossible to test the water for all the types of bacteria that can cause this infection, his goal is to keep the water safe and healthy.

Yarbrough said he is praying for Allen's recovery.

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