August 18, 2023 -Reports have revealed recent cases of individuals falling victim to a rare flesh-eating bacteria in Connecticut and New York.
Found in warm, brackish waters or raw shellfish, the bacteria, known as Vibrio vulnificus, has recently led to a series of alarming incidents.
Recent cases of the bacterial attacks
Reports are that in Connecticut, two individuals lost their lives after being infected by the deadly bacteria after their swimming adventures in two separate spots along Long Island Sound.
Reports are that a third person was infected in July after eating raw oysters from an out-of-state establishment, according to the Department of Public Health.
The victims were all aged between 60 and 80 years.
The virus has also been detected in an individual who died in Long Island, Gov. Kathy Hochul revealed on Wednesday.
According to reports, officials are still investigating the death in Suffolk County to determine whether the bacteria was encountered in New York waters or elsewhere.
Understanding Vibrio vulnificus
Vibrio vulnificus shares its lineage with the bacteria responsible for cholera. Mild infections, termed vibriosis, can manifest in the form of skin blisters, wounds, abscesses, and ulcers.
Afflicted individuals may also suffer from fever, chills, diarrhea, stomach aches, and occasionally, vomiting.
For those already grappling with health conditions like liver disease, cancer, or diabetes, among others, the infection can escalate to septicemia.
Who is at risk and how to stay safe
While vibriosis is a potential threat to everyone, those with open wounds or recent body modifications are particularly susceptible.
Health experts recommend that they either steer clear of warm seawater or ensure the wound is safely concealed under a waterproof bandage.
Doctors also say quick medical attention is crucial if any signs of skin infection emerge post exposure.
Staggering national statistics of Vibrio vulnificus
With an estimated 80,000 infections and 100 deaths annually in the US, this bacteria remains a persistent menace.
Health officials in both Connecticut and New York are emphasizing the risks and urging the public to exercise caution, especially when considering consuming raw oysters or engaging with salty or brackish waters.
Cases of Vibrio vulnificus in Florida
According to a July report from Outbreak News Today, there have been 14 cases of Vibrio vulnificus and four fatalities in just the first half of the year.
The infections span across multiple counties, including Brevard, Broward, and Hillsborough, with the fatalities notably reported from Hillsborough, Polk, and Sarasota.
Flashback to Florida’s cases of Vibrio vulnificus in 2022
Last year, Florida witnessed a staggering 74 cases and 17 deaths.
This significant spike was linked to the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which severely affected Lee and Collier Counties.