Flesh-eating bacteria cases confirmed in Gulf of Mexico

Vibrio Vulnificus –better known as flesh eating bacteria — has reached Gulf Coast.

According to Barbara Gibbs with the Mobile Health Department, two cases are related to open wounds being exposed to the water around Mobile, Ala., and one case is from eating raw oysters in another state.

The Gulf Coast News Today reports one of the victims was a 70-year-old woman who spent 10 days in a hospital after contracting the virus while fishing from a pier in Fairhope, Ala.

Vibrio usually shows up in the summer months. It’s a bacteria that is naturally occurring in warmer water. Those exposed to it will see symptoms within 24-72 hours. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, blisters around the wounded areas, swelling, and redness.

In extreme cases, the affected area needed to be amputated. We have also seen deaths occur from Vibrio. However, Gibbs says 80% of the time, if people get to the doctor within 24 hours of infection, they should be fine. Gibbs suggests treating the affected area immediately after contamination. That includes thoroughly washing the area with soap and water and disinfecting it with rubbing alcohol.

Experts warn everyone to be on high alert if they plan to get in the water this summer and make sure that all shellfish and oysters are cooked properly.

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