WILLIAMS, AZ - Since he was a boy, Jeff Wright has worked and played in northern Arizona.
"Yeah, that's me and my dad. We took catfish out of the Verde River," he said looking at a photo of the pair from 1982.
He's fished and gone swimming in all of the rivers near his home in Williams, but now he says those days are long gone.
"I will never get in the water again. I can promise you that," he said.
That's because, while on a camping trip near the Verde River in July, he says a microscopic bacteria got into a tiny scrape on his leg.
A day later, a fast moving infection was setting in. His leg was too swollen to put on pants, so he went to a Flagstaff hospital where doctors gave him antibiotics, and sent him home but soon, he was back.
"They scraped it out and thought everything was good."
His prognosis however was far from good. His wound would continue to grow.
"The infection was tunneling under the skin. It was making its own path under there where it wasn't solid. It was making its own way to cause more infection," he said.
Wright says doctors eventually determined the infection was caused by areomonas, naturally occurring bacteria found in water. Specialists started aggressive treatment to try to save his leg.
"They took half of my calf off about two and a half inches deep," he said.
Fortunately, the tactics worked, and with constant wound-care, and further antibiotics, Jeff is on the mend, but warns others of the dangers that lurk under calm waters.
"I think there's something wrong with the water. If it happened to me, it can happen to whoever went in the water."
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