Photo Credit: Adrian Lange
Florida Warns Of Deadly Flesh-Eating Bacteria Post-Ian
As Florida recovers from Hurricane Ian, the state has issued a warning about flesh-eating bacteria. According to The Guardian, the microbe, Vibrio vulnificus, has infected 65 people and killed a total of 11 across Florida.
What we know:
The bacteria is commonly found in warm, brackish waters. Floods, such as those caused by Hurricane Ian, can cause it to spread.
According to the Lee Department of Public Health, the bacteria enters the body when it has direct contact with an open wound, causing ulcers, the breakdown of skin, and possibly death. However, the Fort Myers News-Press reports that cases among healthy people are generally mild.
Located on the western coast of Florida, there has been an “abnormal increase due to the impact of Hurricane Ian” in Lee county, according to state health officials. John Cassani of Calusa Waterkeeper, says the count is “off the charts.”
In fact, the number of cases that have been seen in Lee county (29 cases and four deaths) is almost as many as the 34 cases and 10 death total reported across the entire state of Florida last year.
Is flooding the cause?
When there was a great deal of flooding back in 2017 after Hurricane Irma, Florida saw 50 cases and 11 deaths.
Earlier this month, the Lee health recommended that people cautiously avoid the bacteria by staying out of brackish water if they have open wounds. They also advised people to immediately clean and monitor wounds in the event that they do come into contact with flood water.