The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a health advisory for rare and potentially deadly bacterial infections spreading rapidly across the United States. The flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio vulnificus has claimed the lives of a dozen of Americans.
Notably, the bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, is typically contracted by consuming raw or undercooked oysters and other shellfish. The most common way to become infected is when an open wound comes into contact with the bacteria in water. Symptoms of vibriosis can include abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills.
According to the CDC, a dozen people have died from the infection across the US this year. About 80,000 people get vibrio infections each year. Of those infected, about 100 people will die from the infection annually in the U.S.
The CDC recommends people avoid eating raw shellfish or at least wash their hands thoroughly before doing so. CDC has also urged people to stay out of saltwater or brackish water if they have a wound and to thoroughly wash with soap and water if exposed.
“The warmer water is, the more bacteria can reproduce faster,” researcher Gabby Barbarite at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, Florida told USA Today.
As per research published in the journal Nature Portfolio, infections have increased eight-fold between 1988 and 2018 around the country.
“Cases used to be concentrated almost exclusively in the Gulf of Mexico in the southern United States,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, told USA TODAY earlier this year.
The bacteria eats away at the skin, muscles, nerves, fat and blood vessels around an infected wound.