Four cases of vibriosis — an infection linked to flesh-eating bacteria — have been reported this year in Mobile County, according to the local health department.
The Mobile County Health Department said the Department of Infectious Diseases and Outbreaks is investigating the cases, three of four of which involved infections exposed to water connected to the Gulf of Mexico.
Vibrio bacteria live naturally in certain coastal waters and are often found in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer. Vibrio bacteria can enter the body through a crack in the skin but it can also come from eating contaminated seafood.
To avoid injury:
- Avoid exposing open wounds (including cuts and scrapes) to salt and brackish water. If someone gets a wound while in the water, wash the wound immediately with soap and fresh water. If the wound shows any signs of infection (redness, pain and/or swelling) or if the wound is deep, seek medical attention immediately.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked shellfish, and cook foods to the recommended temperature.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year in the United States 80,000 people become infected with Vibrio and 100 people die from the infection.
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