Galveston man dies from Hurricane Harvey-related bacterial infection

Josue Zurita was 31

HOUSTON – The man who died last week from necrotizing fasciitis, a rare bacterial infection that kills soft tissue, has been identified as Josue Zurita, who was 31.

Friends and family members on Monday provided his name and spoke about his life.

Zurita was a hard-working carpenter by trade who was recently repairing homes in the area following Hurricane Harvey.

“It's unbelievable,” said Brenda Avalos, a family friend. “We still don't accept that he's not here.”

Added another friend, Elizabeth Cortez, “It's sad. He was a really nice person."

Relatives said after getting sick and going to a hospital with a serious infection in his arm, Zurita’s condition quickly turned from bad to worse.

He was soon diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, often referred to as a flesh-eating bacteria.

What is flesh-eating bacteria infection?

According to the Center for Disease Control, the bacteria that Zurita was diagnosed with spreads quickly and destroys the body’s soft tissue.

“To this day, I can't believe what happened to him,” Cortez said.

“It spread up his arm and he went to UTMB on October 10, and unfortunately, despite the efforts of doctors, he died on (Oct. 16),” said Dr. Philip Keiser, with the Galveston County Local Health Authority.

Health officials said it's most likely that Zurita became infected when bacteria from Hurricane Harvey debris or floodwater entered his body through a cut or wound.

“This is a real tragedy,” Keiser said. “He was very unlucky and very unfortunate.”

Added Avalos, “He was always smiling. (He was) so nice to everyone and making friends everywhere.”


A GoFundMe page set up for Zurita

What is this flesh-eating bacteria?

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