TAMPA, Fla. (WKRG) — A man is speaking out after contracting a rare flesh-eating bacteria while visiting family in Florida. The pictures are hard to look at. Barry Briggs’s left swollen up as black blisters take 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 says he was visiting his brother-in-law. They were out at Weldon Island in Tampa Bay 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,” Brigg said. He was diagnosed with strep A necrotizing fasciitis. It usually enters through a small wound. It’s a rare infection that lives up to its nick name of eating away your skin. All of this is extremely rare. The Centers for Disease Control says there are 700 to 1200 cases a year in the U.S. But they also say they think it’s under-reported.