Bacteria alert: Beware of warm saltwater if you have open cuts

BY RICHARD TRIBOU
ORLANDO SENTINEL/TNS

There’s lots of ways Florida can kill you, not the least of which is Vibrio vulnificus, a rare and potentially deadly bacteria found in warm salt water.

Health officials have warned those who venture into Florida’s waters to be wary of the bacteria, especially if you have any open cuts. While the infections are rare, the bacteria is a normally occurring one in warm, brackish seawater.

So as a reminder, the Florida Department of Health would like you to know, “Water and wounds do not mix. Do not enter the water if you have fresh cuts or scrapes.”

This further precaution is noted: “Individuals who are immunocompromised, e.g chronic liver disease, kidney disease or weakened immune system, should wear proper foot protection to prevent cuts and injury caused by rocks and shells on the beach.”

Two fatal cases
This is the same bacteria that can live in oysters, which can be deadly if one were to consume raw or undercooked oysters.

According to a report from ABCNews.com, there have been seven cases in Florida in 2015, including two fatal cases in Brevard and Marion counties. The other cases were in Broward, Duval, Pasco, Santa Rosa and St. Lucie counties.

Most cases occur between the months of May and October when water temperatures are between 68-95 degrees, according to the department’s website.

From 2000-2013, there were an average of 28.4 cases a year in Florida, ranging from 13 to 46 a year.

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