A popular Texas fishing-boat guide tragically died last month after contracting a ravenous “flesh-eating” bacteria from a seemingly innocuous wound.
South Padre Island’s Raymond “Skipper” H. Mock, 61, had reportedly been infected with vibriosis, or fish poisoning — a bacterial infection most commonly associated with eating raw or undercooked seafood or exposing open wounds to water, the Houston Chronicle reported. Family and friends believed he most likely picked up the flesh-ravaging microbes through an oyster cut, according to Newsweek.
The fisherman officially died July 30 due to organ failure caused by sepsis, a “life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues,” per the Mayo Clinic.
“It’s a very invasive disease,” said Dr. Sandra Lozano, a physician with the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Mock had spent almost his entire life in San Padre, where he learned fishing from his grandfather, according to his obituary. After graduating high school, the avid angler started the Catch A Fish Charter Service in 1982, whereupon he became a renowned figure in the fishing community. Over the course of his angling career, Skipper won several fishing tournaments and helped turn Cameron County into a fishing mecca.
Mock’s untimely passing prompted an outpouring of support from his friends and former clients.
“Captain Skipper Mock, my very special friend and brother for over thirty years. Fondly considered a special member of my family,” wrote close friend John Dargan on Facebook. “A man of steel with a heart of gold. The best of the best sea captains you could ever hope to fish with. Rest In Peace Skipper. We will remember and think of you each and every day.”
Another pal Joseph Farah added, “Sad to hear that a great Guide and Captain down in South Padre’ Capt Skipper Mock, passed away from the complications of a flesh eating virus he contracted from a cut from oysters.
“It has always been a very serious deal and very fast moving,” he continued. “Any time you have a cut or area that is getting infected or painful quickly after being in the bay waters do not hesitate.”
Indeed, according to CDC reports, a wound-infiltrating Vibrio vulnificus proves fatal for about one in five people, while others often require intensive care or even limb amputations.