There are concerns among the medical fraternity in Florida due to the rising number of cases of potentially deadly bacterial species. According to a Newsweek According to the report, the microorganism in focus is the Vibrio bacteria found in warm coastal waters around the Gulf States. Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the paper said Vibrio bacteria cause an estimated 80,000 infections in the US each year. There are fears that the bacteria could spread to the rest of the US after Florida.
Most illnesses caused by the bacteria are mild or severe diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. But one species, Vibrio vulnificus, can cause a potentially life-threatening infection, with around one in five infected dying within just two days.
“Vibrio vulnificus is a truly nasty disease and if left untreated and becomes systemic, it can be fatal,” Rita Colwell, a distinguished professor at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, told me. Newsweek. She has been studying Vibrio for the past 50 years.
The bacteria is transmitted when an open wound comes into contact with salt water, but in some cases the bacteria can also enter the human body through the ingestion of raw or undercooked shellfish.
“Vibrio vulnificus is a really nasty disease and if left untreated and becomes systemic it can be fatal,” Professor Colwell said.
“The bacteria invade the tissues of the body and sometimes the only way to save the lives of these individuals is to amputate the infected limb,” she added.
The professor and her team discovered a high infection rate in Florida.
In their analysis, which was published in the journal mBio on October 16, the team found evidence of 12 different potentially harmful species of Vibrio, including Vibrio vulnificus. “We were very surprised that we were able to detect – without any difficulty – the presence of these pathogens,” she told the newspaper.
The expert said one of the reasons for the increase in this bacterial species is the steadily rising ocean temperatures in Florida.
Professor Colwell asked people to exercise caution and consult a doctor immediately in the event of an infection after a stay at sea. If caught early, Vibria infections can be treated with antibiotics, she added.