Alabama man contracts flesh-eating disease after kayaking on Tennessee River, wife says

An Alabama man recently was infected with flesh-eating bacteria during an outing on the Tennessee River, his wife said.

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According to WAFF-TV, Ricky Rutherford, 41, of Waterloo, remains in intensive care at a Florence hospital after doctors diagnosed him with necrotizing fasciitis last week, according to his wife, Cassey.

Rutherford's symptoms, including redness, swelling, leg cramps and a 105-degree temperature, began Monday, two days after the pair kayaked and swam with their children and some friends.

I should have posted the whole story when asking for prayers because now my phone is blowing up. Thank you guys for...

Posted by Cassey Rutherford on Wednesday, July 10, 2019

"We put in at Second Creek and we kayaked back to High Banks, where there's a swimming hole back there," Cassey Rutherford told the station.

After multiple trips to the hospital, doctors removed a portion of Rutherford's inner thigh Friday and confirmed that he had the flesh-eating disease, WAFF reported.

Although Rutherford's condition over the weekend was dire, doctors said he is improving and may be discharged in the next week, WAAY-TV reported.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, necrotizing fasciitis is a life-threatening infection "that spreads quickly in the body," typically after entering someone's system through an open wound.

Rutherford didn't appear to have a cut or scrape during the kayaking trip, but doctors said the bacteria could enter the body through a "microscopic hole," Cassey Rutherford told WAFF.

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