Business owner says boat rentals down due to flesh eating bacteria in Rez

(WJTV) — Horror stories about a flesh eating bacteria in the Ross Barnett Reservoir started circling after two people became infected, and even though experts say infections are rare, WJTV spoke with business owners on the water who say it’s affecting business.

“It’s not just us it’s everybody out here you know all the businesses out here they’re all talking about it,” Aaron Criddle said., the manager of the Main Harbor Store.

He said it started about a month ago, people calling in, asking to cancel their boat rental reservations because they heard about a flesh eating bacteria in the water.

“I’ve had a few that say their child or somebody in their family has a low immune system or they’re just too nervous to come out here in the water,” he said.

The Main Harbor Store rents out boats, jet skis, and kayaks to hundreds of people throughout the summer so it came as a shock to Criddle that people would be afraid to get in the water.

“It’s not something that’s just in our water, it’s everywhere and I think it’s kind of something that creating a panic and it shouldn’t because you just have to take precautions so and we do that on our rental boats. We give them first aid kits and all that stuff, so they’ll have the precautions there you know,” he explained.

Criddle doesn’t deny there’s bacteria in the water, but he says they take precautions and he hopes his customers will too.

“It’s just like getting in the hot tub you just have to make sure if you have any open wounds cover them up and just be cautious you know where water shoes or something like that you know because if you cut yourself on a rock then there you go,” Criddle said.

A spokesperson with the Department of Environmental Quality says bacteria is naturally occurring in any body of water.

It’s important to keep any open wounds covered or out of the water completely.

Symptoms include fever, swelling, vomiting, and fatigue. If you experience any of these, it’s important to see a doctor immediately.

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