The Florida Health Department has joined the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to warn beach-goers in Florida to watch out for Vibrio vulnificus, the flesh-eating bacteria that has infected close to 32 people and even killed two in the state.
According to the CDC, the flesh-eating bacteria breeds in brackish and warm waters and swimmers need to avoid the water during the summer time; especially swimmers with open wounds and sores because the bacteria could easily invade the body through the open wounds.
People could also get infected with Vibrio vulnificus by eating raw shellfish like oysters, clam, and mussels among others.
According to the spokeswoman of the Florida Health Department, Mara Burger, People can get infected with Vibrio vulnificus when they eat raw shellfish.Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater.
Health officials advise that people with open wounds should avoid the beach or getting into the water, and people who love eating seafood and shellfish should have them thoroughly cooked before consuming them. People should also avoid eating cooked and raw seafood put together.
Symptoms of infection with vibrio vulnificus bacteria include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, skin blisters, and cramps; but death could result in people with weakened immune system so such people should also avoid the water for now. The risks of infection with the flesh-eating are high between May and October.
There are no vaccines or standard treatment for vibrio vulnificus at the moment, and swimmers or beach-goers are warned to watch out for themselves and avoid the water if possible for now.