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Florida Residents Warned To Avoid Contact With Floodwaters

Floodwater contact remains a big risk

NPR – Parts of Florida hit hardest by Hurricane Ian are seeing nearly double the normal number of infections from a flesh-eating bacteria that thrives in brackish floodwaters.

According to the Florida Department of Health, the state has seen 65 cases of Vibrio vulnificus infections and 11 deaths from the bacterium in 2022. Lee County, where Ian made landfall on Sept 28 as a category 4 storm, accounts for 45% of the cases.

What is Vibrio vulnificus?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that Vibrio vulnificus lives in warm seawater and is a type of foodborne illness-causing bacteria called “halophilic” because they require salt to survive.

The bacteria population increases during the warmer summer months and may also see a boost after sewage spills into coastal waters, as it did during Hurricane Ian.

The storm brought more than 17 inches of rain over West-Central Florida, leading to surges of up to 12 feet.

Infections can lead to skin breakouts and ulcers

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Vibrio vulnificus infections can be caused by eating undercooked oysters and shellfish.

But in the aftermath of a hurricane, infections typically start when open wounds, cuts or scratches come into direct contact with warm brackish water … READ MORE 

Vibrio vulnificus

FloridaHealth.GOV – Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that normally lives in warm seawater and is part of a group of vibrios that are called “halophilic” because they require salt.

Vibrio vulnificus infections are rare.

Vibrio vulnificus is a naturally occurring bacteria in warm, brackish seawater.

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Water and wounds do not mix. Do not enter the water if you have fresh cuts or scrapes.

IMPORTANT: Individuals who are immunocompromised, e.g chronic liver disease, kidney disease, or weakened immune system, should wear proper foot protection to prevent cuts and injury caused by rocks and shells on the beach … READ MORE. 

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