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Southern California Surfer Dies Days After Contracting Staph Infection

A 71-year-old surfer died just days after getting an aggressive staph infection.

Barry Ault was well-known in the San Diego surfing community.

Like many surfers, Ault decided to hit the big waves after December storms, despite the common warning to stay out of the water for 72 hours after the rain.

Within days, Ault, who had an artificial heart valve, came down with a severe staph infection and fell into a coma.

He died Christmas morning.

Doctors say staph infections are usually treatable, but the infection attacked Ault’s heart valve.

The local surf instructor and owner of Surf Happens said if you decide to surf after a storm, avoid certain areas.

“You want to avoid any river mouth where the outfall is flooding into the ocean, especially if its been stagnant in one place for a long time, and for multiple seasons when you have dry climate,” said Chris Keet.

Two friends went surfing with Ault during the storms.

Both came down with a bacterial infection.

For longtime surfers like Keet, sometimes it’s worth the risk.

“When everything comes from land into the water, man is a messy critter, you better be prepared to enter into that environment and you might get sick,” Keet said.

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