Flesh-eating bacteria spike in Florida after Hurricane Ian

Parts of Florida hardest hit by Hurricane Ian are seeing nearly double the normal rate of infections from flesh-eating bacteria that thrive in coastal flooding. According to the Florida Department of Health, Florida has seen 65 cases and one death from the bacteria so far in 2022 compared with 34 cases and 10 deaths in 2021. The only Central Florida counties with reported cases this year are Brevard with two cases and none. deaths, and Seminole with one case and one death. Compare that to Lee County, where Hurricane Ian made landfall, with 29 cases and four deaths. Salvador Almagro Mareno, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Central Florida, is an expert in flesh-eating bacteria. He said that given Ian’s massive flooding, he’s not surprised at the peak. “People who may not come into contact with bacteria at normal times, because of the water and coastal waters coming into the land. It just increases the contact and people will also have similar wounds because they will be carrying things. It will create the perfect environment for the transmission of the disease,” Mareno said. Scientists say flesh-eating bacteria thrive in salt water, and the floods seen in Central Florida were mainly fresh water. They say that’s why we haven’t seen more cases here. Doctors say infection with flesh-eating bacteria can be life-threatening for people with weakened immune systems. with soap and water after exposure to it. Symptoms of Vibrio infection or vibriosis include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. ways needed, and serious illness is rare, but doctors prescribe antibiotics in more persistent cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Parts of Florida hardest hit by Hurricane Ian are seeing nearly double the normal rate of infections from flesh-eating bacteria that thrive in coastal flooding.

According to the Florida Department of Health, Florida has seen 65 cases and one death from the bacteria so far in 2022, compared with 34 cases and 10 deaths in 2021.

The only Central Florida counties with reported cases this year are Brevard with two cases and no deaths, and Seminole with one case and one death. Compare that to Lee County, where Hurricane Ian made landfall, it has 29 cases and four deaths.

Professor Salvador Almagro Mareno of the University of Central Florida, Ph.D., is an expert in flesh-eating bacteria. He said that given Ian’s massive flooding, he’s not surprised at the peak.

“People who may not come into contact with bacteria at normal times, because of the water and coastal water coming into the land. It just increases the contact and people will also have wounds because they start wearing things. It’s about the perfect environment for the transmission of the disease,” said Mareno.

Scientists say flesh-eating bacteria thrive in saltwater and the Central Florida floods were mostly freshwater. They say that’s why we haven’t seen more cases here.

Doctors say infection with flesh-eating bacteria can be life-threatening for people with weakened immune systems

Moreno’s advice is simply to avoid brackish water as much as possible and wash carefully with soap and water after exposure.

Symptoms of Vibrio infection or vibriosis include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. Treatment isn’t always necessary, and serious illness is rare, but doctors prescribe antibiotics in more persistent cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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