Cases of flesh-eating bacteria reported in Gulf Coast waters

(CDC photo via Wikimedia Commons)

(WKRG/WFLA) — Vibrio Vulnificus, also known as flesh-eating bacteria, has reached the Gulf of Mexico.

The Mobile County Health Department in Alabama tells WKRG they have two cases related to open wounds being exposed to the water around Mobile. A third case is from eating raw oysters in another state.

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.

Blurred image shows flesh-eating bacteria. (Source: WKRG)

In extreme cases, the affected area needed to be amputated. There have also been deaths that occur from Vibrio.

However, a health official said 80 percent of the time, if people get to the doctor within 24 hours of infection, they should be fine. That official suggests treating the affected area immediately after contamination, including 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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