Hurricane Ian is still causing trouble for Florida. The side effects of tragedy caused by the forces of nature can be frightening and devastating, but they’re not only visible to the naked eye.
After Ian devastated and destroyed various areas of Florida and took 119 lives, mainly in Lee County, Floridians face a new storm: a bacterial storm of flesh-eating disease that is killing people and horrifying residents of the Sunshine State.
Flesh-Eating Bacteria on the Loose
Vibrio vulnificus is a dangerous bacteria found in the ocean. It is dangerous to humans and sometimes contained in seafood. It kills around 60% of patients who are immuno-compromised and basically eats a person up from the inside.
Infection with vibrios directly impacts human health; contamination can occur through food, in the consumption of contaminated fish and crustaceans, as well as through water.
The main symptoms include gastric pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and lesions on the skin, which can develop into large blisters and eventually corroded pockets of disappearing flesh.
If you have low immunity, you can die from flesh-eating bacteria; treatment needs to happen as soon as possible via IV antibiotic therapy.
The floodwaters of Hurricane Ian have brought huge amounts of this bacteria into people’s homes and water supplies. Now, they are suffering and dying.
Florida has seen an increase in cases of flesh-eating bacteria this year driven largely by a surge in the county hit hardest by Hurricane Ian.https://t.co/vqr2W5j4pt
— Jamaica Observer (@JamaicaObserver) October 19, 2022
The Danger of the Disease
Patients with necrotizing skin or soft tissue infection also need to undergo early and aggressive removal of infected tissue; otherwise, it spreads.
The number of cases of people infected with vibrio vulnificus bacteria is growing long after the hurricane has passed. Prior to Hurricane Ian, Florida found only 37 cases of the bacteria.
Already, after the hurricane, in less than a month, almost the same number of cases were recorded. To date, 65 people have been infected and at least one person has died. The majority of cases are in Lee County and on Sanibel Island.
The main reason is people are in close exposure to flood waters carrying the bacteria. In particular, many people have been infected while cleaning their homes after the damage caused by Ian.
So far, six deaths have been recorded since the end of Hurricane Ian. Last year, ten people died in total as well, however, so this is not new. It is a danger that Florida residents have to be aware of more broadly.
As the region rebuilds and flooding damage is repaired, the danger is expected to also decrease as well, but this is definitely a serious situation.
Residents should be aware of it, wash, and use soap well after any exposure to storm waters, as well as avoid drinking or getting any in your ears, eyes, or nostrils.
Florida has seen an increase in cases of flesh-eating bacteria this year driven largely by a surge in the county hit hardest by Hurricane Ian.https://t.co/RFE56WuxbQ
— Chispa Florida (@ChispaFlorida) October 19, 2022
The Bottom Line
Stay safe, Florida. Hurricane Ian may be over, but the danger is not over yet.
This article appeared in FreshOffThePress and has been published here with permission.