Florida beachgoers have been warned that the bacterium, which lives in warm ocean water, infects people through ingesting contaminated food or water, injury or an open wound.
According the office of the Center for Disease Control, this outbreak is said to be seasonal with cases occurring more often from May to October
People also can be infected with the bacteria by eating raw shellfish, said Florida health officials. A spokesperson from the Florida Department of Health said that since the bacteria are found in warm sea waters, people that have open wounds are exposed to it through direct seawater contact.
The symptoms are dependent upon how the bacteria entered the body. If a person was infected due to consuming food that was contaminated or water then they would likely reported suffering from abdominal pains, vomiting and diarrhea.
However, if the bacteria were able to gain access through a person’s wound it could lead to ulcers along with blistering skin lesions, which give the bacterium its flesh-eating name.
The people most apt to be infected are those that have an immune system that has been weakened especially those suffering from chronic liver disease. The severe complications that can be caused by this virus include chills, septic shock, fever as well as death.
Although the majority of cases are able to be treated with just the use of antibiotic, in some of the cases, the person’s affected limbs had to be amputated.
Although it is rare to have that many cases, 32 were reported last year in Florida and experts have asked people to not risk entering the water if they have new wounds or fresh cuts.
Officials recommend limiting the opportunity of being infected through the consumption of contaminated food by cooking thoroughly all shellfish such as clams, mussels and oysters before eating them. It is recommended that raw seafood be avoided.
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