According to Florida Department of Health’s report, seven Floridians tested positive for Vibrio vulnificus infections, while two were killed by the potentially deadly bacteria.
Vibrio, also known as the flesh-eating bacteria, usually thrives in warm seawater but poses no health threat to regular, healthy people that swim in the state’s coastal waters, Florida health officials said. Moreover, Vibrio infections are relatively rare, but the risk of getting the disease can rise dramatically if you happen to have an open cut or wound.
The Florida health department warns beach goers on a yearly basis against the bacteria and also helps them take the most appropriate measures to minimize exposure. The department also said this year, that Florida’s coastal areas and beaches were safe to enjoy as long as people acted “responsibly.”
Health officials also noted that the risk of infection is minimal if beach goers take recommended precautions. Authorities would update the news on new infections and post new educational materials on a weekly basis.
Vibrio infections can have different symptoms depending on the way bacteria enters the body. If it was ingested from food or drinking sea water it could result in fever, chills, shocks, diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting. If it entered blood stream through an open cut or wound it may cause ulcers and skin breakdowns.
The health department warns that mussels, oysters and clams by no means should be consumed raw. Instead they should be cooked thoroughly and eaten shortly after they were cooked to prevent bacteria infection.
The department also cautions beach goers with open cuts or wounds to stay away from water, while people that have a weak immune system should wear proper footwear to prevent bruises or cuts from the rocks and shells on the beach, officials said.
Doctors said that the bacteria infections were successfully treated with antibiotics in most cases. But when complications occurred, the infected limb had to be amputated.
Early last month, the US Food and Drug Administration urged Americans to refrain from eating raw oysters to prevent Vibrio infections, or vibriosis, especially if they had certain health conditions.
The FDA said that Vibrio vulnificus populations became more active and reproduced at a higher rate especially in summer months when seawater gets warmer.
So, oysters which filter seawater while they feed retain high concentrations of Vibrio in their tissue. So eating them raw or undercooked allows the bacteria to enter the digestive system and multiply rapidly. But the symptoms are only visible 24 to 48 hours from ingestion.
Image Source: Central Florida Future
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