While visiting San Diego from Arizona, Travis Moncur enjoyed a swim in the ocean off Coronado beach, but on his way home things took a turn for the worse.
“It’s super important that we really tell people how polluted our waters are,” he told me.
His shared his experience on Facebook after returning home.
On the weekend of August 10-11, Moncur visited the beach but during his return to Phoenix on Sunday, he didn’t feel well.
“I had been (swimming) directly between Dog Beach and the Hotel Del Coronado, maybe a little closer to the Del,” he told me.
"I had a sore throat and cold symptoms, thought nothing of it. Woke up 2 days later with a small red bump on my arm and extreme pain at 2 AM," he wrote.
Four hours later, at 6 am his left arm was in complete paralysis.
"I was in the worst pain of my life. The redness was spreading up my arm and the swelling was getting worse. The ER department was at a loss to what it was. I was transported to Banner University where teams of doctors were trying to figure it out. It was acting like a bug bite but didn’t look like one in my blood work. They gave me all the IV antibiotics they could to just keep it from spreading.’
“I didn’t have any known scratches,” Moncur told me when asked how he might have been infected.
Doctors were able to stop the spread with antibiotics, but "they had to intervene with surgery to cut out the infection and bleed out all the bad stuff."
Moncur was diagnosed with Gram-positive cocci, the exact strain is still unknown, but it typically causes skin infections and sometimes pneumonia, endocarditis, and osteomyelitis. It commonly leads to abscess formation.
The doctors told him the infection was from swimming in the ocean.
"San Diego has been battling sewage issues along the coast from Tijuana Mexico but hadn’t seen any recent issues. The infection somehow got into my arm…. I am not out of danger yet but on the mend with antibiotics and the surgery. The only reason this didn’t kill me was it only was in my lymphatic system and not in my blood. Had it got in my blood it wouldn’t have turned out so good.
‘Just always be aware of your body after swimming or being out in nature. I got lucky."
According to a water quality report for Coronado, titled Swimmable Water’, conducted on 15 August 2018 by EnviroMatrix Analytical Inc., in the Microbiological Parameters by Standard Methods, Enterococcus was discovered in waters off of Coronado.
Enterococcus are Gram-positive cocci that often occur in pairs (diplococci) or short chains, and are difficult to distinguish from streptococci on physical characteristics alone.