Florida Man Contracts Flesh-Eating Bacteria Without Touching Water

Close-up snapshot of a doctor wearing their lab coat
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Vibrio is the name of a deadly flesh-eating bacteria, of which several species can be found in the United States, that is typically contracted in coastal waters. According to International Business Times, the CDC confirms the concentration of the bacteria found in the water is highest between May and October when the temperatures rise.

According to CBS News, Florida man Tyler King is living proof that simply avoiding coastal waters is not enough to avoid the bacteria completely as he contracted the virus without coming in direct contact with water.

King, who owns a water sports business, was at work in Santa Rosa Beach last week when he noticed his left arm beginning to swell up. Initially, King took Benadryl to combat what he thought might’ve been an allergic reaction. He, however, was later rushed to a hospital when his arm had tripled in size in just a couple of hours.

Doctors determined the Florida man had contracted vibrio despite not coming in direct contact with water that day.

“People with vibriosis become infected by consuming raw or undercooked seafood or exposing a wound to seawater. Most infections occur from May through October when water temperatures are warmer,” the CDC says as they explain how someone contracts this disease.

King told CBS News he was relieved he responded so quickly to the swelling. He admitted that if he had been a little younger, he might’ve tried to “tough it out” and lose his arm because of it.

CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus says warmer temperatures are to blame. While Agus does not believe people should be afraid of going to the beach or swimming in the ocean, they should pay attention and be aware of their own body.

International Business Times notes that not everyone who contracts the virus comes out as lucky as the man from Florida did. The outlet notes a 12-year-old girl from Indiana is still recovering after contracting the virus while visiting Pensacola a month ago.

According to People Magazine, a 77-year-old woman named Lynn Fleming died after scraping her leg while walking on the beach.

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According to experts, safety measures can be taken to avoid contracting the disease. These measures including not eating raw seafood, properly cleaning wounds, keeping wounds covered with waterproof bandages, and wearing protective gloves when interacting with seashells and crabs. Experts also suggest avoiding murky water as well as swimming in the water when it has rained in the last 48 hours.

People with weakened immune systems, diabetes, liver problems, and open wounds are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.