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Flesh-Eating Bacteria in Seawater

Flesh-Eating Bacteria in Seawater: Health authorities are recommending individuals with open wounds to refrain from entering seawater in order to minimize the chance of infection. An uncommon and potentially severe bacteria, known to consume flesh, has caused the deaths of eight individuals along the eastern coastline of the United States. As a result, authorities are cautioning against both ocean swimming and the consumption of shellfish.

Among the fatalities linked to the vibrio vulnificus bacteria, five occurred in Florida, while the remaining three took place in Long Island, New York, and Connecticut. Those with open wounds are being advised to avoid contact with water bodies to prevent potential infection. It’s understood that the two victims in Connecticut had been swimming in Long Island Sound, an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, another person fell ill after reportedly consuming raw oysters from an out-of-state establishment.

Health officials in New York are still investigating how this individual came into contact with the bacteria. Kathy Hochul, the Governor of New York, emphasized the seriousness of the situation, stating, “Although rare, the vibrio bacteria has unfortunately reached our region and can pose an extreme danger.” She urged all New Yorkers to exercise caution and adopt responsible measures to ensure their safety, including shielding open wounds from seawater. Those with compromised immune systems are also advised to avoid consuming raw or undercooked shellfish, as these may harbor the bacteria.

Flesh-Eating Bacteria in Seawater

The five fatalities in Florida were concentrated in the Tampa Bay region. Thus far this year, the state has reported 26 cases of vibrio vulnificus infections, with 74 cases and 17 deaths recorded in the previous year. The elevated death toll in 2022 was attributed to heightened bacteria levels following Hurricane Ian, which led to sewage entering the ocean.

It’s estimated that the bacteria results in approximately 800,000 illnesses and roughly 100 deaths in the US annually, with a majority of infections occurring during the warmer summer months. The escalation in infections over the past decades, with rates increasing eightfold between 1998 and 2018, has been linked by experts to climate change.

Flesh-Eating Bacteria in Seawater , Recent research published in the Nature Portfolio journal reveals that the bacteria and associated infections are moving northward along the east coast at a rate of approximately 30 miles per year. This migration is linked to the warming of coastal waters, the bacteria’s natural habitat. When contracted through the consumption of undercooked shellfish, the disease elicits gastrointestinal symptoms such as fever, chills, and vomiting. The bacteria is also associated with necrotizing fasciitis, a rapidly spreading bacterial infection that has a fatality rate of one in five people. Treatment can necessitate limb amputations, with those having compromised immune systems being particularly vulnerable.

William Schaffner, a professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, advises individuals to take basic precautions to reduce the risk of infection. He said, “It’s preferable to avoid water contact if you have a weakened immune system and a recent, unhealed injury. This is an opportunity to relax under the sun instead.”

By masud

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