- Max Matso
- BBC News, Washington
Illnesses and deaths from “flesh-eating” bacteria are on the rise in Florida counties devastated by Hurricane Ian last month.
In Lee County, where the storm made landfall on Sept. 28, officials have recorded 29 illnesses and four deaths from the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria.
Almost all cases were diagnosed after the hurricane had passed.
People can become infected with Vibrio vulnificus after the bacteria enter the body via injuries or Open cuts.
The bacteria live in warm, salty water, such as stagnant water after a flood.
“The Florida Department of Health in Lee County is observing an unusual increase in cases of Vibrio vulnificus infections as a result of exposure to flooding and standing water after Hurricane Ian,” a department spokeswoman said Monday.
A statement from the department urges residents to be aware of the “potential risks associated”. Open wound exposureCuts or scrapes on the skin with warm, salt or salt water.
“Sewage spills from Cyclone Ian may increase bacteria levels,” the report added.
“As post-storm conditions develop, people should take precautions against infection and disease caused by Vibrio vulnificus.”
Collier County, south of Lee County, also has three confirmed cases, officials say Relating to the storm.
In Florida, there have been 11 confirmed deaths from the bacteria this year and a total of 65 cases, according to state health data.
Officials have estimated that Almost half Associated with Hurricane Ian.
Florida had 10 deaths and 34 cases in 2021. Seven deaths were caused by the bacteria in 2020.
Vibrio vulnificus is known as a “flesh-eating” bacterium because it can Necrotizing fasciitis, A condition that breaks down tissue.
But this is not the only bacteria that causes necrotizing fasciitis.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approx One in five patients with Vibrio vulnificus dieSometimes a day or two after getting sick.
If the bacteria enter the bloodstream, the infection can cause life-threatening sepsis, and in some cases, amputations are required to prevent spread to other parts of the body.
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