Flesh Eating Bacteria


The CDC reports that each year approximately 35 people die from infections associated with a water based bacteria that causes severe tissue damage and breaks down the skin. This fleshing eating bacteria is found in the warmer Gulf Coast waters around Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Even if you don’t live in one of these states, travel and vacations can expose people who live in other states.

As the waters warm in the gulf each summer, it brings an increase of a bacterial infection called Vibrio vulnificus – also known as the “flesh eating” bacteria. Those infected will experience vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The skin can redden, ooze with puss and wounds will continue to grow in size. Those with depressed or immature immune systems this can be a fatal infection. When infected, surgeons will need to remove the dead tissue and clean out the wound. Special bandages will need to be replaced on a regular basis. Patients will then receive antibiotic treatments that could last up to 14 days.

While this flesh eating bacterial infection is rare, you can take a few precautions. First cover all exposed wounds while swimming or playing in the coastal salt waters of the gulf. Better yet consider avoiding any direct contact with these waters when you have a skin wound. Also, avoid eating any uncooked seafood’s that are harvested from the gulf, such as oysters.

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