Deadly flesh eating bacteria lurking in waters of southern state

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Be careful when swimming in Alabama these days, as health department officials are reporting an increased number of cases involving a dangerous flesh eating bacteria called Vibrio.

On Friday, the Alabama Department of Public Health issued a warning that Vibrio cases have been reported along Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Vibrio is a flesh eating bacteria that the CDC estimates 80,000 people in the US contract each year. Left untreated it can be dangerous, as about 100 people a year die from their affliction. It can be contracted by swimming in water with open wounds, or by eating undercooked seafood.

Alabama Health Department’s assistant state health officer Karen Landers says she hope the warning educates “the general public about wounds and water, safe swimming, and safe consumption of seafood.”

“At this time of year, the ADPH receives increased calls regarding skin infections related to wounds and water as well as the occasional, rare instance of necrotizing fasciitis,” Landers said. “Sometimes, people contract Vibrio in the coastal region and do not become ill until they return to their county or state of residence.”

According to the CDC, symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, chills and nausea, and begin popping up within 24 hours of contracting the bacteria. The statement warns those with open cuts and sores to avoid the water and those with low immune systems or debilitating health conditions as well.


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