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Lawsuit alleges flesh-eating bacteria in cruise hot tub

July 23, 2013 Cruise, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59A new class-action lawsuit claims that a cruise passenger came into contact with a dangerous, flesh-eating bacteria in a cruise ship hot tub.

According to the lawsuit (US District Court, Case #1:12-cv-24408-CMA), Tab Lankford, who was cruising on the ship Carnival Paradise on 17 December 2011, contracted “hot tub folliculitis” from a Carnival whirlpool.

The severe infection nearly cost him his leg, the suit says.

“The entire leg turned black and they wanted to amputate,” Lankford’s attorney, John Billera, commented in an issued statement. After a week in the hospital and USD 70,000 in medical bills, FolliculitisLankford’s leg was saved, but he still bears the scars from the flesh-eating infection.

When Lankford contacted Carnival regarding his infection, he claims a guest relations specialist told him that there were more than 50 other passengers on the same cruise who came down with the same illness from using the hot tubs.

And the infested hot tubs may not be limited to just one ship. The suit alleges that on the 12 May  2012 voyage of Carnival’s ship Fascination, Maria Osoriocano and Andrew Smith became severely infected with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) [a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans] from using its hot tub. Sean Cleary, their attorney, along with Billera, have now filed a class action seeking the names of all persons who have suffered from a bacterial infection after using a Carnival hot tub.

“Our clients – and we believe many others – have suffered horrendous infections from bathing in Carnival’s hot tubs,” Cleary said.

“One problem is that these infections may take a few days to surface. By the time the passengers know they have been exposed, it is often too late to report the problem on the ship.”

Billera and Cleary are now seeking any passengers who “suffered a rash, outbreak, pimples, boils, or other types of infection or illness  after using a Carnival Cruise Lines hot tub”.

The US National Library of Medicine (NLM) defines hot tub folliculitis as “an infection of the skin around the lower part of the hair shaft (hair follicles). It occurs when you come into contact with certain bacteria that live in warm, wet areas”.

The NLM entry continues: “Hot tub folliculitis is caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This form of bacteria survives in hot tubs, especially tubs made of wood. Controlling the acid and chlorine level in the water can limit the growth of the bacteria. The first symptom of hot tub folliculitis is an itchy, bumpy, red rash. Symptoms can appear from several hours to 2 days after contact with the bacteria.”

Edited by : William Sykes

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