Report: Flesh-eating Bug Kills Cruise Ship Passenger in Hours

USA Today 5/8/09

The British media today is abuzz over the story of a cruise ship passenger killed by so-called flesh-eating bacteria.

The BBC says 58-year-old Raymond Evans died within hours of showing symptoms of the disease, necrotising fasciitis, while on an unnamed cruise ship in the Mediterranean two months ago.

The news outlet says the passenger's widow testified this week in an inquest into the death that Evans had injured his knee when it gave out during a walk in a port. The ship's doctor, who examined the injury after the couple returned onboard, prescribed him antibiotics, but despite the treatment the knee continued to deteriorate and eventually was consumed by a "blotchy blackness" that spread to his chest, elbow and fingers.

The BBC says Evans was admitted to the ship's in-house hospital and, upon arrival in Alexandria, Egypt, rushed to a hospital on land. But he died within hours from multiple organ failure.

A pathologist at the inquest suggested Evans could have picked up the bacteria on the ship. "It could not have been anything to do with his initial knee injury because this progresses within hours," the pathologist said.