Family members hope to raise awareness after a Florida fisherman was killed by vibrio bacteria.
Richard “Pinetree” Corley enjoyed fishing the brackish backwaters of Florida’s West Coast, but after a late-September trip to Ft. Myers when he waded through these still waters with a fresh cut on his leg, the 56-year-old quickly fell ill and passed away from an infection caused by vibrio bacteria.
Now, family members want to raise awareness of this invisible threat in coastal waters.
According to Bay News 9, Corley first experienced flu-like symptoms, was hospitalized, and then died one week later. His brother, Brian, said Corley had cut his leg the day prior to their wade-fishing trip.
It is common for fishermen in southwestern Florida to gravitate towards brackish waters in pursuit of a variety of sportfish they harbor during certain times of the year; however, medical professionals maintain that this environment is ideal for the deadly vibrio bacteria.
“The best thing to do is be aware that if the water is brackish and sits still too much, if there isn’t a lot of flow through the water then that bacteria is going to accumulate a little bit more. So make sure the water is flowing. Make sure you don’t have cuts. If you have cuts don’t get in the water. It doesn’t make us heal faster. It makes it worse,” said Priority Health’s Dr. Randy Shuck.
Corley’s family wants to educate others about the dangers of the vibrio bacteria and the precautions people should take when the enter the water. Furthermore, they hope to erect signs near boat rams with pertinent information about the bacteria.
So far this year, the vibrio bacteria has killed 12 people.