Since May, ‘Flesh-Eating Bacteria’ Have Infected Two Persons In Sarasota County; One Of Them Died

Flesh-Eating Bacteria Have Infected 2 Persons In Sarasota County | The Lifesciences Magazine

One of the five Florida deaths since Jan. 1 that have been linked to a rare flesh-eating bacteria disease happened in Sarasota County. Flesh-eating bacteria’ have infected two persons in sarasota county, according to recent news reporting on the subject. Records from the Florida Department of Health showed that there have only been two cases of Vibrio vulnificus infections in Sarasota, one in May and one in June.

A state Department of Health spokeswoman refused to specify which of the two cases resulted in the death, citing HIPPA-related privacy concerns. The FDA also omitted a list of the Florida cases’ reasons. The key is finding it early, according to Jae Williams, the press secretary for the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee. “It is very easy to cure – its’ an antibiotic,” she added.

The flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio vulnificus normally appears in coastal waters, and it is more common in the summer. Seafood that is uncooked or undercooked, saltwater, and brackish water all contain it. Untreated exposure, whether from swallowing it through shellfish or seawater or through an open wound, has the potential to be fatal.

“It’s rare, it’s incredibly rare – it’s a thing and it’s something that we as Floridians have to work with,” said Williams. He urged anyone who developed a high fever, severe chills, or aches after consuming raw shellfish or swimming in warm brackish water to see a doctor to rule out Vibrio, also known as vibriosis.

The term “flesh-eating bacteria” is technically incorrect because Vibrio vulnifus kills but does not consume tissue. The only way for the flesh-eating bacteria to enter healthy skin is through an already-existing skin crack. The flesh-eating bacteria can cause necrotizing fasciitis, in which the flesh surrounding the infection site dies, if it enters the body through a cut or wound. Latin’s vulnificus means “to wound.”

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention state that some Vibrio vulnificus infections can result in fatal wound infections in which the flesh surrounding an open wound degenerates. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 people who contract the infection die, sometimes just a day or two after becoming unwell. Many infected people may require intensive care or limb amputations.

According to the CDC, over 80,000 people in the United States develop vibrio infections every year, and about 100 people pass away from the infection.

Flesh-eating bacteria kills 5

A Rise Brought On By Hurricane Ian

According to data from, there have been 26 confirmed instances of vibriosis in Florida since January, leading to five deaths, including one in Sarasota County. Pasco County saw one death, Hillsborough County had two, and Polk County saw one.

In comparison to Manatee County, Charlotte County has only had one verified incidence this year. The Florida Department of Health’s database of reportable disease frequencies shows that between Jan. 1, 2013, and Aug. 20, 2023, there have been a total of 41 confirmed Vibriosis cases in Charlotte (17), Manatee (12), and Sarasota (12) counties.

2022 is listed as an anomaly linked to Hurricane Ian in a different Health Department database that shows states and deaths on a state-by-state basis from 2008 through 2023. There were 74 confirmed cases across the state, with 17 deaths, including 28 in Lee County.

Williams noted that Hurricane Ian in particular “was the perfect cocktail for Vibrio to develop.” “That’s why there is that huge spike, and there is also a huge spike in deaths.” In eight of those 16 years, there were double-digit deaths reported. 2019 saw just two fatalities out of 27 verified occurrences.

One of those 2019 fatalities happened in July when an Ellenton woman who had injured herself on a rock while walking in the Gulf at Coquina Beach developed necrotizing fasciitis. A woman fell while strolling in the Gulf on Siesta Beach in May of that year, developing cellulitis, but she recovered.

The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County issued a marine bacteria warning in 2014 after a Sarasota man’s death was determined to be caused by vibriosis. This year, no such warning has been given. Always present in the sea and moving north is flesh-eating bacteria.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said that the flesh-eating bacteria was found in a person who died in Long Island, where it has been linked to several recent deaths in the Northeast. According to the state’s Department of Public Health, the flesh-eating bacteria infected three persons in Connecticut in July who were between the ages of 60 and 80. Two of those patients passed away subsequently.

Studies have revealed that Vibrio vulnificus is migrating north due to climate change and rising ocean waters. According to researcher Gabby Barbarite at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbour Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, Florida, “the warmer the water is, the more bacteria can reproduce faster.”

According to study that was published in March in the journal Nature Portfolio, infections have increased eight-fold in the United States between 1988 and 2018 as a result of climate change warming the coastal waters where the flesh-eating bacteria reside. According to studies, the germs and diseases are moving up the East Coast in the north at a rate of around 30 miles each year.

In the past, cases were nearly entirely concentrated in the southern United States in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, who spoke to USA TODAY earlier this year.

Manisha Juthani, the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health, stated at a news conference on Monday that Vibrio vulnificus is “actually always in water.”

“Bacteria like this tend to overgrow in the summer, and if you have an open wound, you should never be getting into water,” she said. “There are many different bacteria that are in the water.” How can I guard against contracting Vibrio vulnificus? The following advice from the CDC can help you lower your risk of contracting the bacteria:

If you can, avoid swimming in salty or brackish water if you have a wound, such as one from a recent operation, piercing, or tattoo. On the beach, wading is included. If your wound might come into touch with seawater, brackish water, raw or undercooked seafood, or the juices from these foods, cover it with a waterproof bandage. This contact may occur while engaging in regular activities like swimming, fishing, or beach strolling. Flooding brought on by a hurricane or storm surge could also occur.

If cuts or wounds come in touch with raw seafood, seawater, brackish water, or its fluids, they should be properly cleaned with soap and water. Steer clear of seafood that is uncooked or undercooked, especially oysters. Additionally, if raw or undercooked seafood or its juices come into touch with an open cut, you could contract an infection.

What symptoms could indicate a Vibrio vulnificus infection?

Following are a few examples of typical infection signs and symptoms:

  • Watery diarrhoea that is frequently accompanied by fever, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
  • Fever, chills, dangerously low blood pressure, and blistering skin sores are symptoms of a bloodstream infection.
  • Fever, redness, discomfort, swelling, warmth, discoloration, and discharge (leaking fluids) are symptoms of a wound infection that could spread to the rest of the body.
Read More: Infection With A Rare Flesh-Eating Bacteria Resulted In The Deaths Of 3 People In Connecticut And New York

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