Man in critical condition after family says he contracted flesh-eating bacteria at Bay St. Louis beach

Man in critical condition after family says he contracted flesh-eating bacteria at Bay St. Louis beach

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Family members in Louisiana say a Baton Rouge man is in critical condition after contacting flesh-eating bacteria while on vacation at a Bay St. Louis area beach.

According to a fundraising page, doctors reportedly amputated Dick Empson's leg to prevent the bacteria from spreading. Environmental experts cannot confirm the report, but say vibrio is always in the water and has a chance of being more active when temperatures rise.

Hancock County EMA Director Brian T. Adam released the following statement, saying in part:

"We spoke to the Department of Environmental Quality DEQ Biologist Emily Cotton on this situation....Mrs. Cotton stated that they cannot test for vibrio so they cannot confirm this case of vibrio. MDEQ is not putting out any information on this."

According to the Mississippi State Department of Heath, there are no confirmed cases of the flesh-eating bacteria in Mississippi. MDEQ monitors bacteria levels along the beaches, and there are currently no advisories in place.

Wednesday night, WLOX was able to confirm with hospital officials that Empson was in critical condition, but due to privacy laws, they could not comment on his specific illness.

WLOX has reached out to the family for a comment, but has not heard back.

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