Flesh-eating bacteria: What to know about Vibrio vulnificus and how to avoid it

Flesh-eating bacteria: What to know about Vibrio vulnificus and how to avoid it


In the aftermath of flooding from Hurricane Ian, Lee County, Florida, has seen what state Health Department It is called an ‘abnormal increase’ in rare bacterial infections.

Florida has reported 64 Vibrio vulnificus infections and 13 deaths this year as of Friday, according to the Department of Health, up from 34 cases and 10 deaths last year. This is the first time the number of cases has risen above 50 since 2008, when the state began tracking them.

Many of the cases were concentrated in Lee County, where residents were cleaning up after Category 4 Hurricane Ian made landfall at the end of September.

These infections are rare but serious. Vibrio vulnificus causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vibrio vulnificus lives naturally in warm, brackish or brackish water. It comes from the same family of bacteria that cause cholera.

Vibrio can be found in waters around the world. In the United States, it lives in the Gulf of Mexico and along some coastal waters on the east and west coasts. Bacteria multiply in the warmer months, when ocean temperatures are at their highest.

Infection can occur when someone comes into contact with water with large amounts of bacteria in it or eats contaminated seafood.

Mild cases of varicose veins usually include chills, fever, diarrhoea, stomach pain, and possibly vomiting. Usually, people get sick on the first day of exposure to the bacteria.

Skin wounds infected with Vibrio vulnificus usually develop blisters, abscesses, and ulcers.

Vibrio vulnificus is one of the bacteria that can cause what is known as a flesh-eating infection. necrotizing fasciitis It eats the skin, muscles, nerves, fat, and blood vessels around the infected wound.

In more severe cases, people can develop septicemia. This is more common for those with underlying health conditions, especially liver disease, Cancer, diabetes, HIV, or other diseases that suppress the immune system.

Septicemia occurs when bacteria enter the bloodstream and spread. It can cause fever, chills, low blood pressure, or blisters on the skin.

This may lead to septic shock, when blood pressure becomes dangerously low. The bacteria release toxins into the bloodstream which can cause the blood flow to slow down very slowly, damaging tissues and organs.

It can also cause sepsis, in which the body mounts a strong immune response that shuts down important organs such as the heart or kidneys. Or it can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome, or acute respiratory distress syndrome, a condition in which oxygen from the lungs does not reach the blood. This can cause brain damage and permanent lung damage.

If the infection moves into the bloodstream, the consequences can be fatal.

The mortality rate is usually about 25% with wound infections, Studies show. It is much higher for people who are exposed to bacteria by eating contaminated food.

Most Vibrio infections In the United States it generally does not come from an infected wound but from eating raw or undercooked seafood such as oysters, especially in the summer months.

The bacteria can live in the stomachs of fish, shellfish, and other shellfish. People can consume or be exposed to the bacteria when preparing raw seafood.

Vibrio vulnificus infection is The main cause of death related to eating seafood in the United States. Most of these cases include primary septicemiaor bacteria in the bloodstream.

In the case of skin infections, the doctor will first take samples from the affected area to determine if Vibrio vulnificus is causing the problem.

They will drain any abscesses and treat The affected site, sometimes covering the wound with a topical antibiotic and skin protector, as well as other antibiotics. If there is necrotizing fasciitis, they may have to have surgery or even amputate the affected limb to prevent the infection from spreading.

Doctors say it is important to seek treatment quickly. People who receive medical care as soon as an infection is noticed respond better to treatment, Studies showTheir injuries are less likely to be fatal.

However, this particular bacteria has developed some antimicrobial resistance. Up to 50% of Vibrio vulnificus infections do not It responds to some antibiotics any more than that, Studies show.

According to the Department of Health, 28 cases of infection associated with Hurricane Ian in Lee County came after exposure to flood waters that carried high concentrations of this bacteria into people’s homes. Some may have been exposed while cleaning up after a storm.

Six deaths from Vibrio infection have been reported in Lee County.

Although this infection is still rare, this is not the first time the tornado has caused a small increase in the number of cases. One spike came after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Preventionwhen people were also exposed to Vibrio vulnificus in floodwaters.

Scientists we are worried Infections will continue to rise with climate change. Warmer oceans create a more welcoming environment for bacteria and increase the frequency of hurricanes – and expose people to floodwaters.

The only way to prevent Vibrio infection is to Avoid exposure.

If you have a skin wound, or even a new tattoo or piercing, doctors suggest staying away from the ocean and avoiding brackish water, or at least covering the area with waterproof bandages.

If you are exposed to salt water, the CDC advises washing your hands and any cuts thoroughly with soap and water afterward.

If you do have to go into the water, as with a hurricane cleanup, wear clothing and shoes that protect any cuts or wounds from the floodwaters.

You can also reduce your risk of jitters by making sure your seafood is thoroughly cooked. Avoid raw, undercooked, or other shellfish, and be sure to wash your hands with soap and water after handling raw shellfish.

For cooked oysters, eat only those that open during cooking. For shelled oysters, the CDC recommends boiling, frying, or grilling them for at least three minutes, or baking them at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.

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