The likely culprit? Vibriosis, an illness caused by certain types of Vibrio bacteria found along some shores, doctors said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website says the bacteria grow more prevalent when temperatures rise from May to October.
"Most people become infected by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters," the agency's website says. "Certain Vibrio species can also cause a skin infection when an open wound is exposed to saltwater or brackish water."
Although most people recover from vibriosis after a few days, some infections are more serious, leading to amputations or even death, according to the CDC.
Perez told the Express-News that the bacteria likely entered his system through an infection in his right toe.
Doctors performed four surgeries on Perez, removing flesh from the infected areas to stop the life-threatening illness from spreading, he said. He also will receive skin grafts.
"I'm never going to be the same anymore," he told the newspaper, adding that he will probably live on the streets after he is released from the hospital.
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