Three individuals within the Northeast not too long ago died from a uncommon, “flesh-eating” bacterial an infection, well being officers have warned.
The an infection is attributable to a bacterium known as Vibrio vulnificus, which lives in coastal saltwater and brackish water, which means a mixture of salt and freshwater. The microbe and its cousins within the Vibrio genus are most prevalent in such environments between Might and October. Folks will be uncovered to the micro organism once they swim with open wounds or once they eat uncooked or undercooked shellfish, together with oysters. Wounds also can turn out to be contaminated if uncovered to uncooked or undercooked seafood, its juices or its drippings, in response to the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC).
However whereas a few dozen Vibrio species may cause comparatively gentle sickness in people, solely V. vulnificus may cause life-threatening wound infections that may result in “flesh-eating.” Medically referred to as necrotizing fasciitis, such infections trigger the flesh round a wound to quickly die. An estimated 1 in 5 contaminated with V. vulnificus die, typically inside a day or two of publicity, the CDC cautions.
In a assertion launched Wednesday (Aug. 16), New York well being officers introduced that V. vulnificus had been recognized in a not too long ago deceased particular person from Suffolk County on japanese Lengthy Island.
“The loss of life in Suffolk County remains to be being investigated to find out if the micro organism was encountered in New York waters or elsewhere,” the assertion reads. “Within the meantime, the New York State Division of Well being this week reminded well being care suppliers to contemplate vibrio vulnificus when seeing people with extreme wound infections or sepsis [a dangerous, body-wide immune reaction] with or with out wound infections.”
The Suffolk County resident’s loss of life follows three V. vulnificus infections not too long ago reported in Connecticut. Between July 1 and July 28, the Connecticut Division of Public Well being was notified of three infections in residents ages 60 to 80. All three individuals had been hospitalized, and as of Tuesday (Aug. 15), two had died, The Related Press reported.
The division reported that two of the Connecticut circumstances resulted from the people swimming with open wounds within the salt or brackish waters of Lengthy Island Sound, a physique of water positioned between Connecticut and New York. The third case was linked to the particular person consuming uncooked oysters at an out-of-state institution; the oysters weren’t harvested from Lengthy Island Sound.
Folks with weakened immune techniques, liver illness, most cancers, diabetes, HIV or the inherited blood dysfunction thalassemia have the next threat of catching and experiencing extreme problems from Vibrio infections, the CDC states.
To assist stop Vibrio infections, individuals with wounds or latest piercings or tattoos ought to keep away from exposing their pores and skin to heat seawater in coastal environments, or else cowl their wounds with waterproof bandages, the New York well being division advises. These with compromised immune techniques must also keep away from consuming uncooked or undercooked shellfish.
And everybody ought to put on gloves when dealing with uncooked shellfish and totally wash their palms with cleaning soap and water when completed, the division suggests.