Beware of Flesh-Eating Bacteria at the Beach

the MPR take:

Health officials in Florida have issued a warning that a bacteria that causes flesh-eating disease has infected at least 11 people in the state this year. Vibrio vulnificus is naturally found in warm saltwater and can cause stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested by healthy individuals (including via handling or eating contaminated shellfish). For immunocompromised individuals, the bacteria can infect the bloodstream and lead to fever, chills, septic shock, and blistering skin lesions. If open wounds are exposed to the bacteria, a breakdown of the skin and ulcerations may occur. To prevent infection, the CDC recommends avoiding exposure of open wounds to warm saltwater, brackish water, or to raw shellfish; wearing protective clothing when handling raw shellfish; cooking shellfish thoroughly and avoiding food contamination with juices from raw seafood; and eating shellfish promptly after cooking and refrigerating leftovers.

Beware of Flesh-Eating Bacteria at the Beach
Beware of Flesh-Eating Bacteria at the Beach

Vibrio vulnificus – a cousin of the bacterium that causes Cholera – thrives in warm saltwater, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But it can also infect open wounds and lead to “skin breakdown and ulceration,” according to the CDC. “Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater,”...

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