Generally speaking, when it comes to bacterial illnesses, there isn’t really anything positive that comes of contracting such a thing. However, there are certain types of bacterial illnesses that are worse than others. For example, take the latest bacterial monster that has arrived in Florida, which has officials warning the public to be careful at all times.
This is not your ordinary bacteria. This is a rare, flesh-eating bacteria that has found its way to Florida with the warmer weather. Even worse, they’re present on many beaches in the state, and officials are concerned that the flesh-eating bacteria could actually spread further, or make it beyond the state – once the bacteria has made contact.
Officials believe that 7 people have been infected thus far. While that might seem like a low number, and one that makes this a bit overblown, the truth is that the bacteria thrives in warm, salty water, so officials are simply going to err on the side of caution. Interestingly though, it isn’t contracted through the methods that people would be most likely to expect a contraction of such a bacteria. While it is possible to contract the bacteria physically speaking, it would appear as though the bacteria is more easily picked up through contact with raw shellfish.
Officials said in a statement that, “People can get infected with Vibrio vulnificus when they eat raw shellfish.” They went on to point out that, “Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater.” It would appear though, at this point, that while this isn’t something to take lightly – no one will have to give up their shellfish diet anytime soon.
Vibrio vulnificus infections are fairly easy to avoid, according to the Centers for Disease Control. They point out that by simply avoiding letting open wounds come in contact with warm saltwater, brackish water or to raw shellfish, most risk can be mitigated. Also, they pointed out that simply thoroughly cooking any shellfish will also kill any bacteria that’s present. This is a big step, and a meaningful one for those who are looking to continue eating shellfish as usual.
It’s also been reported that of the 32 cases last year, there were 7 fatalities from the bacteria. At this point it isn’t something that has reached a level of concern that would stop people from eating shellfish, but if this trend continues, and more cases are found moving forward – this could all be changing in relatively short order.