Rare ‘Flesh-Eating’ Bacteria Found In Water At Florida Beaches

Flesh-eating bacteria reported at Florida beaches

Flesh-eating bacteria has infected seven and killed two at Florida beaches this year, CBS 19 News reported. State health officials are reporting that “flesh-eating” bacteria can be picked up from swimming in the water at Florida beaches.

“People can get infected with vibrio vulnificus when they eat raw shellfish,” said Mara Burger of the Florida Health Department. “Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater.”

Vibrio vulnificus can enter through open wounds on the flesh and cause skin breakdown and ulcers, the symptoms referred to as flesh-eating. While it may cause only mild symptoms in those with strong immune systems, the bacterium can get into the bloodstream and cause fever, chills, blistering skin lesions, septic shock, and possibly death.

There were 32 reported cases of infection from vibrio vulnificus last year in Florida, and the Centers for Disease Control reported that 85 percent of the cases occurred between May and October.

Although it’s generally found in shellfish, vibrio vulnificus grows rapidly in warm seawater, Naples Daily News reports. The Florida Heath Department reports the bacteria is not actually a flesh-eating disease, but it can do a lot of damage in the instance of a severe infection. Confirmed cases are reported by the state at this site.

Avoiding exposure to the bacteria, other than consuming raw or undercooked shellfish, means avoiding contract with any seawater, or the shellfish itself, that might make contact with any broken skin or flesh wounds that might get infected.

The so-called flesh-eating bacteria, vibrio vulnificus, is found to grow fastest during the summer months during temperatures between 68 to 95 degrees, ABC News reports.

A mom of two, and Marine veteran, who is fighting infection with the flesh-eating bacteria, faces a possible quadruple amputation, the Inquisitr reports. The bacteria can infect the digestive system, get into the bloodstream, or possibly cause necrotic symptoms (referred to as “flesh-eating”) that could lead to amputations.

“Georgia resident Cindy Martinez, 34, is fighting the battle of her life, and hopefully some of the training she received as a soldier can help her survive flesh-eating bacteria. It all started with strong shoulder pain last month, and on May 25, the young mother of two was hospitalized and has been there ever since,” the Inquisitr reported.

These rare forms of bacteria can certainly cause serious disease and should be avoided. Although rare, flesh-eating bacteria can be fatal.

[Photo of Vibio vulnificus from Getty Images.]