Not only are Florida residents dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, but a rare flesh-eating bacteria has emerged, prompting Florida Department of Health to issue a warning. Lee County has seen an “abnormal increase” in the number of cases, according to the Department of Health, and the state has so far recorded 64 Vibrio infection and 13 deaths this year. CNN Reports, “This is the first time the number of cases has exceeded 50 since 2008, when the state began tracking them.”
While flesh-eating bacteria are uncommon, they can be deadly. according to Centers for Disease Control and PreventionVibriosis causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths in the United States each year. People with vibriosis become infected by eating raw or undercooked seafood or exposing a wound to seawater. Most infections occur from May through October when temperatures are The water temperature is much warmer.”
At the end of September, Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds in Florida and was the deadliest hurricane to hit the state since 1935, killing more than 100 people – and the death toll is expected to increase, and cause widespread wide destruction. RMS“The total private insured market losses from Hurricane Ian are estimated to be between $53 billion and $74 billion, with a best estimate of $67 billion. RMS also estimates that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) could see $10 billion Additional US dollars in losses from storm surge and inland flooding as a result of the event.” Read on – and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss this Sure Signs You Already Have COVID.
Dr.. Suman RadhakrishnaInfectious Diseases Director with Karama Health California Hospital He explains, “Hurricanes cause coastal waters to rise. Vibrio vulnificus is found in estuaries, brackish ponds, and coastal waters. Bacterial growth is high in the warm summer months. People who wade in perennial floodwaters are at risk of infection.”
Oladele OgunseitanPh.D., MPH, UCLA Presidential Chair, Professor, Population Health and Disease Prevention tells us that “a hurricane cannot ’cause’ flesh-eating bacteria. However, a tornado can create conditions in which bacteria come into contact with humans. These bacteria exist naturally. In nature, severe weather, including hurricanes, may cause sewage treatment facilities to overflow and so much mixing in the aquatic ecosystem that it is dispersed to sites where people are later exposed, especially if they have open wounds, or wading In polluted rainwater where they can ingest the water.”
According to Dr. Radhakrishna, “Bacteria that feed on flesh by definition will destroy the tissues and muscles under the affected area of skin. Vibrio vulnificus, Group A Streptococcus are some bacteria that can cause extensive destruction at the site of infection. Vibrio vulnificus infects fractures. In the skin due to Cuts, scrapes, and open wounds. In immunocompromised patients it can cause severe harm.”
Dr. Ogonsetan says, “Many species of Vibrio are dangerous to people. The best known of course is Vibrio cholera which is still very dangerous in many parts of the world where water sanitation is poor. However, Vibrio vulnificus can cause relatively moderate food and water to to humans. The problem is when it affects open wounds in immunocompromised people who are unable to fight off infection.”
“Most bacterial infections cause fever, which is the body’s natural defense process. So a fever with infected wounds that are swollen and filled with pus and not clearing with topical antibiotics should be a concern,” notes Dr. Ogunsetan.
Dr. Radhakrishna tells us that “signs of infection can be as follows:
- Local – individuals at the site of the injury may experience pain, redness, drainage, swelling, and warmth.
- Systemic symptoms include fever, chills, and prostration due to hypotension.
- Ingestion of the bacteria causes symptoms of food poisoning – abdominal cramps, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea.”
The Center for Disease Control It states, “When ingested, Vibrio bacteria can cause watery diarrhea, often accompanied by abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. These symptoms usually occur within 24 hours of ingestion and last about 3 days. Acute illness is rare and usually occurs In people with weakened immune systems, Vibrio bacteria can also cause skin inflammation when the open wound is exposed to salt water or brackish water, brackish water is a mixture of fresh and salt water, and is often found where rivers meet the sea.”
Infection can occur, Dr. Ogunsetan says, “mostly by wading in dirty water with open wounds, or by swallowing or inhaling contaminated water.” Dr. Radhakrishna agrees and says you are more likely to get bacteria from “contaminated water contaminating open wounds, and ingestion of contaminated water. Avoid wading in brackish water, especially if you are immunocompromised or have cuts/scrapes. Avoid accidentally swallowing water. Equipment” Protective while aiding in the rescue, check wounds at the end of each work day and monitor them closely. Please contact your physician if any change is observed.”
NPR peports, “Vibrio vulnificus infection can occur by eating undercooked oysters and oysters. But in the aftermath of a hurricane, infection usually begins when open wounds, cuts, or scrapes come into direct contact with brackish water. This is followed by skin breakdown and blisters.”
According to Dr. Ogunseitan, Vibrio vulnificus is not usually fatal, but it is extremely dangerous for people with weakened immune systems. The sooner the infection is diagnosed, the better the prognosis. Antibiotics are the best treatment. That’s why we must protect the effectiveness of antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem, particularly in cases such as emerging pathogens that may become more dangerous with climate change, including Vibrio vulnificus.”
Dr. Radhakrishna adds, “The mortality rate in immunocompromised individuals can be as high as 25% with wound infection. Mortality is higher in individuals with shock and organ failure. Treatment includes early identification of infection, topical control, and systemic antibiotics.”
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