Alabama man hospitalized with flesh-eating bacteria after kayaking in river

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) — An Alabama man is suffering from a flesh-eating bacteria after kayaking in a Tennessee River, according to his family.

Ricky Rutherford, 41, has been in the intensive care unit for a few days since contracting the bacterial infection.

“Yesterday, it was confirmed through the cultures they took that it was flesh-eating bacteria. It’s called necrotizing fasciitis,” his wife, Cassey Rutherford, told WAFF.

The couple and their eight children were kayaking last Saturday with their family and friends.

On Monday, Ricky went to work and came home with a 103 degrees, WAFF reported. He also said his legs had been cramping but because he works in a warehouse, he attributed his symptoms to being on his feet all day.

The next day, he could barely walk.

Doctors at first told his family that he had cellulitis. But the swelling and redness got worse. That's when it was confirmed to be necrotizing fascitis.

“It’s been up and down, touch and go. On Saturday, the doctors told me that they assumed by Saturday night that he would be on life support and that he was capable of dying. They told me to prepare for the worst,” Cassey said.

Although Cassey said Ricky didn't have any open wounds when he went into the water, the Alabama Department of Health said anyone with open wounds should refrain from entering water. And if you've been injured in water, wash and disinfect the wound immediately.