(Meredith) -- 60-year-old Angel Perez was crabbing along the Maurice River in New Jersey when he contracted a flesh-eating bacteria -- now doctors say he might have to choose between his life and his limbs.
Perez first noticed a rash on his leg, which quickly blistered and spread. The infection made its way up his legs and eventually to his bloodstream. His daughter Dilena Perez-Dilan told NJ Advanced Media, "The infection has spread to his blood… his skin; you can see it spreading from his feet all the way above his kneecap. His forearms are black in color; they have blisters, cuts, and sores."
As his condition worsened, doctors diagnosed him with Vibrio necrotizing fasciitis, a rare bacterial infection, and placed him in critical condition. Perez can still breath on his own and communicate with his family. But if the antibiotics don't start working soon, doctors say they will have to amputate at least three limbs.
"We've all been praying and I think our spirituality, our religion has been allowing us to get through without going into a chaotic mess," Perez's daughter said.
The CDC reports about 200 cases of this bacteria each year. Usually, it's contracted by eating raw shellfish, but it can also enter the body through an open wound or even a small scratch. To avoid the disease, it's recommended to avoid raw shellfish and to stay out of warm, brackish saltwater if you have an open wound.