View Full Version : Warning: Flesh eating bacteria on Florida Beaches

Winged Mermaid
06-14-2015, 12:06 AM
Saw this and wanted to be sure people were aware! I had no idea about it, and I don't want any of you mers in danger because you were unaware.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-beachgoers-warned-about-deadly-flesh-eating-bacteria/ (http://http://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-beachgoers-warned-about-deadly-flesh-eating-bacteria/)

A rare, potentially deadly bacteria that lives in warm seawater has infected seven people and killed two so far this year in Florida, according to state health officials.

"People can get infected with Vibrio vulnificus when they eat raw shellfish (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ocean-acidification-spells-trouble-for-shellfish-industry/)," Florida Health Department spokeswoman Mara Burger said in a statement. "Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater."

When the bacterium is eaten in contaminated food, symptoms of the disease include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. When Vibrio vulnificus enters the body through an open wound, it can cause infections that may lead to skin breakdown and ulcers -- the notorious "flesh-eating" symptoms.

While healthy people typically experience only mild symptoms, those with a weakened immune system, particularly people living with chronic liver disease (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/aspirin-may-reduce-risks-for-liver-cancer-dying-from-liver-disease/), are at a higher risk for severe complications. The bacterium can invade the bloodstream and cause fever, chills, blistering skin lesions, septic shock, and death.

Cases of Vibrio vulnificus are rare - there were 32 cases reported in Florida last year (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-health-officials-warn-of-deadly-vibrio-bacteria/) - and infections are seasonal. Over 85 percent occur between May and October, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To avoid infection, experts recommend not entering the water if you have fresh cuts or scrapes. People with a compromised immune system should take extra precautions by wearing proper foot protection to prevent cuts caused by rocks and shells on the beach.
Shellfish, including oysters, clams, and mussels, should be cooked thoroughly and eaten promptly after cooking. Raw shellfish (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/food-poisoning-from-bacteria-found-in-raw-milk-poultry-and-shellfish-on-the-rise/) should be avoided.

Most cases of Vibrio vulnificus are treated with antibiotics. In some severe cases, amputation of the infected limb is necessary.

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06-14-2015, 12:20 AM
we even get it here in Canada! usually from infected cuts or bug bites tho

East coast mermaid
06-14-2015, 12:50 AM
Is it really that serious? Has it killed anyone lately or is just a media scare?

06-14-2015, 10:34 AM
Is it really that serious? Has it killed anyone lately or is just a media scare?
Vibriones regularly kill people who swim in seawater.
The Baltic Sea and also the North Sea here are chock full of them.

Deaths have even occurred with people who didn't swim and were just taking a stroll along the beach.
Lakes can be affected too, I'm not sure anybody tests this because supposedly, deaths are rare
(which is why every oblivious German tourist I've alerted to it said "I'm bathing anyway!").

So it's up to you.
Similarly with Balamuthia, Amoebacantha and Naegleria fowleri.
They are rare.
Not sure if that's a consolation if you are the one that picks it up tho :p

East coast mermaid
06-14-2015, 11:02 AM
Well then I'll be changing my plans from going to the beach to my local pool [emoji15] my day dream of enjoying the beach this week is slightly crushed haha

Mermaid Carly
06-14-2015, 01:10 PM
Great- I haven't gone to the beach in years and I actually finally have the chance to go to a Florida beach in a couple months. (This must be why I'm such a mountain girl.) Ah well, at least I have been warned. :) Thank you!

Winged Mermaid
06-14-2015, 09:22 PM
I don't want people to be scared, I just want them to be informed :) I was recently in FL myself (on the beach almost every day I was there, if not swimming walking in the surf) and am not worried because I didn't have any open cuts or anything. My husband however, did, and I wish someone had told us beforehand. Keeping an eye on him for any sign of infection for sure. He's got a good immune system though so hopefully all will be well.

The tip they gave about protective footwear is worth listening to. There's lots of sharp shells on the beach! I happened to be wearing my neoprene socks because it was more comfortable that way. If you're nervous about getting a cut like that, leave your shoes on or get some neoprene socks or water booties or something.

Also I know a lot of mers have health issues. So the whole weak/compromised immune system thing is relative as well and for sure worth pointing out.

Just do what they say- don't eat raw shellfish, and if you have cuts/scrapes/ect, don't go in the water. To be well informed is to be well prepared, and all that ;)