Flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio Vulnificus is starting to resurface in the Gulf and this man who just finished with his tattoo session wasn’t too lucky.
CNN reports that the flesh-eating bacteria called Vibrio Vulnificus has again caused another man his life. It all started with a tattoo on his right leg, which depicts a photo of a crucifix and hands in prayer with the text “Jesus is my life” written underneath. What this 31-year-old man does not know that his life will be in grave danger after failing to follow standard after-tattoo procedures—and that includes the rule “No Swimming.”
Tattoos are essentially open wounds. And open wounds are more prone to attracting bacteria since bacteria easily permeates through these lesions.
The unnamed man whose life was claimed by the flesh-eating bacteria called Vibrio Vulnificus was reported to have enjoyed a good swim in the Gulf of Mexico only five days after he got his tattoo. Three days after his luxurious swim, he gets admitted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas “with severe pain in both of his legs and feet. His symptoms included a fever, chills, and redness around his tattoo and elsewhere on his legs.” His condition continued to worsen within the month and in two months, Vibrio Vulnificus bacteria claims his life and he dies of septic shock.
— Elisabeth Bik (@MicrobiomDigest) June 4, 2017
So what is this terrifying Vibrio Vulnificus? Newsweekexplains:
Vibrio Vulnificus is a bacterial microorganism that’s from the same family as the type that causes cholera. It typically found in seawater. It is halophilic, which means it requires salt to survive and grow. It also needs warmer temperatures to thrive, which is why infections, known as vibriosis, are more common in the summertime.
Vibrio Vulnificus can be both foodborne and waterborne. Most people will contract an infection after eating raw seafood that contains the bacteria (it’s particularly prevalent in oysters). The infection can also occur when the bacteria enters the body through a cut or scrape in the skin, most likely by swimming in contaminated coastal water between 68 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no evidence of person-to-person contamination.
It should be noted that Vibrio Vulnificus is not only contactable in the Gulf or in Gulf seafood. The flesh-eating bacteria is only highly contactable via the Gulf because of the warmer temperature, Dr. Jesse Penico of Singing River Health System tells Wlox.
This year, Dr. Penico notes that they have only seven reported cases so far.
The man who died from the Vibrio Vulnificus was reported to have liver disease, as well. Dr. Penico reiterates that people with strong immune systems will be strong enough to fight the infection but those with underlying hepatitis, sorosis, diabetes, or weak liver from drinking too much alcohol are very susceptible to the risk that the Vibrio Vulnificus poses.
The symptoms to look out for are:
In people with a healthy immune system, Vibrio Vulnificus causes vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Patients who are immunocompromised may develop a life-threatening infection of the blood stream with symptoms that include fever, chills, sepsis and skin lesions. Open-wound exposure to the bacteria may cause swelling, redness and pain near the wound. Symptoms typically begin one to three days after exposure.
An infection may lead to necrotizing fasciitis, where the bacteria destroys the skin and tissue covering the muscle. That’s why in the popular media, the infection is sometimes referred to as flesh-eating bacteria. This, however, is not a medical term, and is also occasionally used to describe other bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis, including, for example, group A streptococci bacteria.
While the flesh-eating bacteria that is Vibrio Vulnificus is fairly rare, doctors believe that a lot of the cases tend to go unreported. A huge bulk of the cases are reported to have been contacted in the past two decades in the Gulf Coast region, including Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.
People are also advised to stay away from consuming uncooked shellfish such as oysters, clams, and crabs since it is also a potent carrier of the Vibrio Vulnificus.
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