ICYMI: Vibriosis Cases Rise in FL Following Hurricane Ian

 

According to ABC News, cases of Vibrio vulnificus (V. vulnificus) infections have risen in Florida following the devastating effects of Hurricane Ian. V. vulnificus infection, which may also be referred to as vibriosis, is fatal in an estimated 20% of cases. In Florida, as of mid-October 2022, 65 cases of V. vulnificus had been reported, with 11 associated deaths. This is significantly higher than the prior years. In fact, these cases are the highest amount seen in Florida for the past 13 years.

People can become infected with V. vulnificus through eating raw or undercooked seafood. It can also be contracted when an open wound comes into contact with infected seafood, its juices, saltwater, or brackish water. In Florida’s case this year, a large majority of infections come following Hurricane Ian. As people begin to clean out their yards and homes, rates of infection are rising. This is especially common in coastal areas.

Vibriosis can lead to the development of necrotizing fasciitis. For those living in Florida, you can take certain steps to avoid V. vulnificus infection. These include:

  • Avoiding stepping or standing in any flood, standing, or brackish water.
  • Covering your wounds with waterproof bandages to avoid infection.
  • Washing wounds and cuts thoroughly, especially if they have come into contact with any water.

About Vibriosis

As described above, vibriosis is an infection caused by V. vulnificus. The Florida Department of Health explains:

Vibrio vulnificus a bacterium that normally lives in warm seawater and is part of a group of vibrios that are called “halophilic” because they require salt. 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.

Each year, vibriosis affects an estimated 80,000 people within the United States and causes approximately 100 deaths. The CDC explains that, when ingested, symptoms of vibriosis typically occur within 24 hours and last for around 3 days. Symptoms can include:

  • Abdominal pain/discomfort and cramping
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting

When wounds become infected, vibriosis causes red, swollen, and painful sores. If you suspect that you have vibriosis, please seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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