Deadly Flesh-Eating Bacteria Reported in the Waters of Gulf Shores, Alabama
The state of Alabama has reported its first water-borne case of Vibrio, a deadly flesh-eating bacteria.
Although no identifying information about the individual with Vibrio may be shared due to HIPAA, the Mobile County Health Department did say exposure occurred in the waters near Gulf Shores, Alabama.
"Of the more than 70 species of Vibrio that exist, about a dozen can cause human illness — known as Vibriosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year in the United States 80,000 individuals become sick with Vibriosis, and 100 people die from their infection," the MCHD said.
The CDC says symptoms of Vibriosis include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and watery diarrhea in addition to abdominal cramps. Symptoms can be exacerbated in the immunocompromised.
The Alabama Department of Public Health has verified 16 cases of Vibrosis statewide, three of which have been confirmed by the Mobile County Health Department.
"Vibrio bacteria naturally live in certain coastal waters and are present in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer. However, the bacteria can be present throughout the year in some areas. While Vibrio bacteria can enter the body through a break in the skin, it can also come from consuming contaminated seafood," the MCHD said.
The Alabama Department of Public Health advises those with cuts, abrasions and open wounds to avoid entering bodies of water where Vibrio have been reported.