It is summer and most people are very eager to go to the beach and dive into the refreshing water of the ocean. However, the prolonged exposure to the sun is not the only danger we should be aware of, according to authorities in Florida.
It seems that the beaches in Florida have become quite dangerous within the last few months because a deadly flesh-eating bacteria has become a resident that poses a real threat to beach-goers.
It was reported that this bacteria, called Vibrio vulnificus was the cause of two deaths and was responsible for the infection of seven other people this year.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that there were 32 cases of people infected with this bacteria in 2014. Most of these cases (85 percent) appeared between May and October, which is the preferred period for people to go to the beach.
A statement released by Florida authorities on Monday revealed that the bacteria can be found on various beaches in the area.
The lethal bacteria likes to live in warm salted water, where usually many people like to swim. Those who have open wounds should be especially careful because they can get infected much easier.
At the same time, it is quite common to become infected if you handle or eat raw shellfish because this might be already contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus, according to Mara Burger, a spokeswoman for the Florida Health Department.
When a person ingests food that has been contaminated with the bacteria, he or she might have a variety of symptoms that indicate poisoning. These include abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.
If someone’s skin is affected by the bacteria, the person can display various blistering skin lesions or ulcers which can lead to amputations if they remain untreated.
Even if in most cases there are treatments for people to be cured of these symptoms, people who have a weaker immune system should be more careful, especially if they suffer from chronic liver disease. The most serious complications include fever, septic shocks and ultimately death.
The prevalence of this bacteria on Florida beaches does not necessarily mean that people should stop going swimming altogether, especially given the fact that the cases of infection are quite rare.
However, the authorities have issued a couple of preventive measures that people should take when eating seafood. It is recommended we cook shellfish very well and avoid raw seafood in general. Moreover, we should try to eat shellfish immediately after cooking it.
People who like to swim in warm water should try to avoid getting in if they have open wounds or if they are immunocompromised.
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