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Second D.C.-area man stricken with flesh-eating bacteria: media

(Reuters) - (In this July 31st story, corrects paragraph 9 to show there were eight vibrio vulnificus cases and 27 involving all vibrio species) A flesh-eating bacterial disease has infected another Washington, D.C.-area man, local media reported on Thursday, just days after a man was released from a hospital following a near-deadly bout with the germ.

Joe Wood of Stafford, Virginia, said he was swimming in the Potomac River near the town of Callao earlier this month when a scratch on his left leg became infected with vibrio vulnificus, an aggressive bacteria that feeds on flesh, Washington D.C.'s WTOP radio reported.

Wood was admitted to the Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg on July 5 where an infectious disease specialist performed skin graft surgery on Tuesday, the report said. Doctors told the radio station that Wood would likely survive.

The report could not be immediately confirmed as the hospital did not return repeated calls by a Reuters reporter on Thursday.

The news comes just days after a 66-year-old Maryland man was released from a hospital after nearly losing a leg and his life to the flesh-eating bacterial infection that he contracted in Chesapeake Bay earlier in the month.

The bacterial strain causes severe illness characterized by fever and chills, septic shock and lesions. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. 

Vibrio cases are on the rise in the region. In a 2009 study, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation found that the increase in infections was linked to pollution and unusually hot summers. 

In Maryland, the number of all vibrio cases, including the strain that afflicted the two men, reached 57 last year, a 10-year high, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Virginia had eight vibrio vulnificus cases last year, according to the Virginia Department of Health. There have been 27 cases involving vibrio species overall so far this year.

Nationwide, there are as many as 95 cases of vibrio vulnificus infections each year, 35 of which result in death, according to CDC statistics.

(Reporting by John Clarke in Annapolis, Maryland, and Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Curtis Skinner and Sandra Maler)

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