Vibrio Vulnificus, Potentially Fatal Bacteria, Found In Florida Seawaters, And You Might Want To Skip The Beach After This
Were you planning a trip to Florida this summer? Maybe think again, because a potentially fatal bacteria has been found in Florida seawater, and what it'll do to you ain't pretty. The bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, is not a new thing — it seems to show up in the Florida coasts annually and grows as the temperature rises — but it's already killed two people this year (and has infected seven), so things might be on track to be worse than usual.
There were 32 cases last year, but at least there weren't any reported deaths. It may actually be difficult to tell how many people Vibrio vulnificus sickens per year because, in most people, the infection just shows up as vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea — symptoms that aren't unique to the bacteria at all. Contrary to some sensationalist headlines, the bacteria isn't a "flesh-eating" one, although it can cause skin ulcers if already-broken skin, like wounds, are exposed to seawater containing Vibrio vulnificus.
As usual, immune-compromised persons are more susceptible to catching a Vibrio vulnificus infection, as are those with chronic liver disease, so maybe leave your Florida-dwelling grandma safely on the sand while you take a dip. You can catch Vibrio vulnificus from eating uncooked seafood too, so for an extra layer of safety, order those oysters Rockefeller instead of sucking them down raw (still good, I promise). Oh, and one more tip: don't attempt to "wash" your cuts with seawater! Follow these steps, and your chances of escaping this summer without any weird infections are actually quite good.