Flesh eating bacteria has killed at least three people in the New York area. The dangerous bacteria can affect anyone, but people can take precautions.
What Is Flesh Eating Bacteria?
The bacteria responsible for the deaths is Vibrio vulnificus. It can cause watery diarrhea, abdominal cramping, vomiting, nausea, fever, and chills. Symptoms usually appear within 24 hours and last approximately 3 days. Severe sickness is rare and generally happens in people with compromised immune systems. People with an open wound can get a skin infection caused by Vibrio bacteria when exposed to salt water or brackish water (water that has more salt than fresh waters but not as much as marine waters).
Vibrio infects approximately 80,000 people each year in the United States, according to the Centers For Disease Control. Of those, around 100 die from the infection annually. People who have liver disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV, or thalassemia, receive immune-suppressing therapy, take medication to lower stomach acid levels or have had recent stomach surgery are more susceptible to a Vibrio bacterial infection.
The CDC offers tips to help prevention a Vibrio infection:
- Don't consume raw or undercooked oysters or shellfish
- Wash your hands after handling raw shellfish
- Don't mix cooked shellfish with raw shellfish and its juices
- Avoid salt or brackish waters if you have a wound
- Wash wounds if exposed to seawater or raw seafood and juices
Vibriosis is caused by several species of bacteria, including the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, which occurs naturally in saltwater coastal environments and can be found in higher concentrations from May to October when the weather is warmer.
3, Possibly 4 People, Have Died From Vibrio Bacteria Infections
Two people from Connecticut have died after swimming in Long Island Sound, which is in between the state and New York.
Another person in Connecticut died after eating raw oysters out-of-state, according to CNN.
A person in Suffolk County in New York State has died from a Vibrio Vulnificus infection. Officials are investigating to determine if the infection was contracted in New York waters or elsewhere.
Governor Hochul said,
While rare, the vibrio bacteria has unfortunately made it to this region and can be extraordinarily dangerous. As we investigate further, it is critical that all New Yorkers stay vigilant and take responsible precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, including protecting open wounds from seawater and for those with compromised immune systems, avoiding raw or undercooked shellfish which may carry the bacteria.