The number of cases of flesh-eating bacteria in the US has been increasing, posing a growing threat to areas along the East Coast. The bacteria, known as Vibrio vulnificus, can cause a serious infection that can result in limb amputation or death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 109 cases of Vibrio vulnificus reported in 2020, with 27 deaths. This represents an increase from the previous year, when there were 92 cases and 23 deaths.
The majority of cases occur between May and October, when water temperatures are warmer. The bacteria is typically found in saltwater and can enter the body through cuts or wounds. People with weakened immune systems, liver disease, or other underlying health conditions are at a higher risk of infection.
The East Coast has seen a particularly high number of cases in recent years, with Florida reporting the highest number of cases in the country. Other states along the East Coast, including North Carolina and Maryland, have also reported cases.
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Experts are urging people to take precautions when swimming in saltwater or handling raw seafood. They recommend wearing protective clothing such as gloves and avoiding contact with seawater if you have an open wound.
Symptoms of Vibrio vulnificus infection can include fever, chills, and skin lesions that may rapidly progress to tissue death. Treatment typically involves antibiotics and surgery to remove affected tissue.
Health officials are also advising people to seek medical attention immediately if they suspect they may have been exposed to the bacteria. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent severe complications.
As the number of cases continues to rise, health officials are urging people to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect themselves. This includes avoiding swimming in warm saltwater if you have an open wound, and seeking medical attention if you experience any symptoms of infection.