New warnings have been issued early this morning by the Health Department of Florida concerning a bacteria found in the ocean which has killed several people. The bacteria is called Vibrio vulinficus, a relative of the bacteria strain that causes Cholera, is best described as a flesh-eating bacteria that thrives in warm saltwater. The Florida Department of Health reports that 32 people have contracted the bacteria and 10 people have died from the strain, compared to last summer in which 41 people were infected and 11 people died in Florida alone.
While the majority of reported victims so far have been in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi have also recorded a few cases. Residents of Florida are being urged to reconsider taking a trip to the beach especially if they have a compromised immune system or if they have any open wounds, even something as small as a paper cut can leave someone susceptible to contracting the bacteria. The deadly Vibrio vulinficus bacteria can even be contracted by eating raw seafood, like oysters.
Despite there being several cases reported as well as several deaths this summer spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health, Tim O'Connor says that the state is closely monitoring the bacteria and the threat is not severe at this time. Steve Gyland, a survivor of the bacteria stated “It was like you were on fire. Like a burn blister from a fire. It was weeks before I could walk on that leg; you could just watch the red, blistery skin spread across your leg.”
Gyland fell ill with the bacteria after a scuba diving trip but also works exclusively with raw seafood during his job as the owner of Cod and Capers Fish Market. Gyland then went on to say that there is always a risk when eating raw food and if someone thinks they could have the bacteria to get medical attention as soon as possible. Early symptoms include severe abdominal pain and a red blistery rash breaking out on the skin, more progressed characteristics include ulcerations and skin breakdown which could lead to amputation.