Bites at Animal Planet

1 Oct

Saltwater bacterium kills nearly 10 in Florida

Beachgoers and water enthusiasts around the Gulf Coast should be on alert for a deadly bacterium that has infected over 25 people in Florida this year, according to ABC News.

A bacterium found in saltwater and brackish waters has folks on alert around the Gulf Coast. (Photo Credit: ThinkStock)

A 59-year-old man died of complications from Vibrio vulnificus, approximately 28 hours after crabbing in a Florida river. The same infection has resulted in nearly 10 deaths in the state alone.

To learn more about V. vulnificus, we reached out to Monsters Inside Me host Dan Riskin, who told us it is a bacterium that thrives in saltwater. A person could be exposed to it either through an open wound or by eating contaminated seafood.

“This infection is quite rare,” Riskin, a biologist, said. “Fewer than 1,000 cases per year in the USA, most of which a person recovers from completely.”

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and blistering skin lesions. If anyone experiences these symptoms, he or she should seek medical attention immediately, Riskin said. Once V. vulnificus enters the bloodstream, a person’s survival rate drops to 50 percent.

To learn more about V. vulnificus, visit the Centers for Disease Control website. And check out the Monsters Inside Me page on for photos, video and full episodes!

Stay safe!

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