• Man contracts flesh-eating disease after kayaking on Tennessee River, wife says

    By: Michelle Ewing, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    FLORENCE, Ala. - An Alabama man recently was infected with flesh-eating bacteria during an outing on the Tennessee River, his wife said. 

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    According to WAFF-TV, Ricky Rutherford, 41, of Waterloo, remains in intensive care at a Florence hospital after doctors diagnosed him with necrotizing fasciitis last week, according to his wife, Cassey.

    Rutherford's symptoms, including redness, swelling, leg cramps and a 105-degree temperature, began Monday, two days after the pair kayaked and swam with their children and some friends.

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    Posted by Cassey Rutherford on Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    "We put in at Second Creek and we kayaked back to High Banks, where there’s a swimming hole back there," Cassey Rutherford told the station.

    After multiple trips to the hospital, doctors removed a portion of Rutherford's inner thigh Friday and confirmed that he had the flesh-eating disease, WAFF reported.

    Although Rutherford's condition over the weekend was dire, doctors said he is improving and may be discharged in the next week, WAAY-TV reported.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, necrotizing fasciitis is a life-threatening infection "that spreads quickly in the body," typically after entering someone's system through an open wound. 

    Rutherford didn't appear to have a cut or scrape during the kayaking trip, but doctors said the bacteria could enter the body through a "microscopic hole," Cassey Rutherford told WAFF.

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