Hurricane Ian Spreads Flesh-Eating Bacteria Putting Floridians At Risk

Florida issues warning over flesh-eating bacteria in wake of Hurricane Ian – The Guardian US

Hurricane Ian left 65 cases of flesh-eating bacteria in Florida in 2022. Lee County accounts for 45% of the cases.

According to the Florida Department of Public Health, 11 people have died from Vibrio vulnificus infections since Hurricane Ian made landfall. Sewage spills may increase bacteria levels.

Vibrio vulnificus is a type of foodborne illness-causing bacteria that lives in warm seawater. It increases in population during the warmer summer months. The bacteria usually enters the body through cuts or open wounds, but sometimes people with Vibrio vulnificus infections require intensive care or limb amputations.

Vibrio vulnificus can cause necrotizing fasciitis, a severe skin infection. People with weakened immune systems or chronic liver disease are more likely to get an infection. Infections with Vibrio vulnificus are rare, but the Florida Department of Health has seen an increase in cases following Hurricane Ian.

The health department recommends that you stay out of the water if you have open wounds, cuts or scratches, and to clean any wounds and cuts thoroughly with soap and clean or bottled water.

The Florida Department of Health advises residents to avoid standing water and to wash and clean all wounds, and to seek medical care if infections develop.

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