The State Health Department of Florida issued a warning for Gulf waters contaminated with the flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio Vulnificus.
The Florida Health Department officials are urging people to be cautious with regards to entering the warm salty seawater, particularly if they have an open wound anywhere on the body. At the same time, it is strongly recommended that people do not consume shellfish while raw or not sufficiently cooked thermically.
The bacteria called Vibrio Vulnificus is at its peak in summer months and thrives throughout the year from May all the way to October. The first people infected with the flesh eating bacteria have already been reported in Florida. Out of seven cases of infection, two resulted in death due to septicemia and necrosis.
While the Vibrio Vulnificus is fairly common in the warm seawater of the Gulf, infection with the flesh-eating bacteria is not all that common. However, once contracted it kills one in three people. The mortality rate is higher than that of flu in the case of infection with Vibrio Vulnificus. Thus, caution is highly urged by state health officials and CDC, and not for the purpose of inducing fear.
If the bacteria enters the human bloodstream, it may lead to tissue necrosis and consequently the amputation of a limb or surgical intervention, as well as to septicemia. People known to have a weak immune system, as well as any diagnosed liver disease or kidney-related medical issues are strongly encouraged to be even more cautious.
2014 statistics distributed by the Florida Health Department report a number of 32 infections with Vibrio Vulnificus, with seven deaths included.
This year, the counties where infection with the flesh eating bacteria has been reported are Brevard and Marion – the two deaths occurred here, followed by one case of infection in Broward, Pasco, St.Lucie, Duval and Santa Rosa.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a more comprehensive statistic at the federal level. In 2014, at the federal level there were 90 reported cases of infection with the Vibrio. These included 35 deaths.
The states that top the list are Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida.
To this extent, Florida citizens, among other Gulf states are strongly encouraged to protect themselves against infection.
Basic recommendations include cooking the shellfish and avoid any unprotected contact while it is still raw. As for open wounds, a thorough disinfecting process should be conducted after entering the Gulf waters.
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