Man almost loses foot following infection caused by fish

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An Israeli man nearly lost his foot after he was 'stabbed' by the fin of a live Tilapia he'd bought from a fishmonger.

The 64-year-old was putting the fish into a bag when it caught him on the foot with one of its fins, but at the time he thought nothing of it.

Later he began to feel unwell and was rushed to hospital with a high fever along with swelling and blood-filled blisters on his foot. He was diagnosed as suffering from an infection caused by Vibrio vulnificus bacteria.

He spent two months in hospital where he underwent two operations to save his foot.

Infection with V. vulnificus leads to rapidly expanding cellulitis or septicaemia. It's usually incurred after eating seafood, through open wounds when swimming or wading in infected waters, or via puncture wounds from the spines of fish. Infections through wounds have a mortality of approximately 25%.

Health officials in Israel warn of the dangers of buying live pond fish such as Tilapia from fishmongers and recommend frozen, cleaned fish only, due to the dangers presented by Vibrio bacteria.

Dr. Biviana Hazan, head of the infectious disease unit at the Afula hospital, told the Jerusalem Post that the bacteria thrive in fish pond water and are very virulent. She explained that in recent years, a number of people have had to undergo amputation of limbs as a result of Vibrio infection, which can be fatal without immediate treatment.

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