Florida beaches have become deadly, not for its shark attacks but for the onslaught of a lethal bacteria that has killed two people and infected seven others this year.
This bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, has been found to breed in the beaches of Florida according to a statement issued by Florida officials on Monday. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there have been 32 cases of Vibrio vulnificus that were reported in 2014 and more than 85 percent of the infections were recorded between May and October.
In an interview, Mara Burger, Florida Health Department spokeswoman commented: “People can get infected with Vibrio vulnificus when they eat raw shellfish.Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater.”
Most people catch the bacterium through eating contaminated food. In this case, the symptoms to watch out for are vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
State health officials are educating the public on the disease’s preventive measures. They listed three common and easy to follow steps. First is that seafood, particularly shellfish, must be cooked thoroughly and not eaten raw. Second, “cross-contamination of cooked foods with raw seafood” must be avoided. Cooked and raw seafood should never be mixed or put together to avoid the spread of the bacterium. Finally, shellfish must be eaten right after it is cooked.
Like any other infection, antibiotics are prescribed to increase the victim’s chance for survival. Sadly, patients with infected wounds may end up getting amputate if the spread of the bacterium is not checked. The CDC gives additional warning as people who are immunocompromised are also at risk for infection.