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Man suffers stingray attack on hols

19 November 2013 10:46

Stingray's are potentially deadly

Stingray's are potentially deadly

A father has reminded fellow holidaymakers of the importance of travel insurance after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria from a stingray barb.

Michael Yarwood needed $20,000 worth of emergency medical treatment after being attacked by the poisonous fish while on holiday in Florida.

The father-of-two could have lost his foot or even died as a result of the injury, which left him needing urgent medical attention.

Michael was watching dolphins with his daughter Holly, 14, and son Callum, 17, at the time of the incident, which took place in salt water near St Petersburg. The trio had waded into the water to look at the dolphins swimming when the stingray planted its barb into Michael's foot, leaving a four-inch wound.

When he got back to shore, his wife Natalie tended his foot, which was heavily bleeding. The family, from Middleton in Greater Manchester, returned to their hotel but the following day Michael's foot was double its normal size.

He was given a tetanus shot and antibiotics, but he soon began to deteriorate, developing a fever and beginning to shake uncontrollably.

Hospital doctors ran tests and found he had picked up a potentially deadly flesh-eating bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus, which thrives in salt water has already killed 10 people in Florida this year.

Michael, an electrical engineer, was told he could lose his foot but after five days in hospital on an IV drip he was fit enough to travel home.

He told the Daily Mail he was grateful he received the help he did and encouraged others to make sure they took out medical travel insurance.

He said: "It's a lot better now. I'm pottering about, even though it's still painful. It's nowhere near as bad as it was.

"If it had been one of my children - who were two feet away from me - it could have been a different story."

He said people should be wary of potentially dangerous animals in the sea. In 2006 TV's famous 'crocodile hunter' Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray while diving off Australia. But it was the bacteria which infected the wound which could have been so costly for Michael.