FORT MYERS, FL – Florida has seen an increase in cases of flesh-eating bacteria this year largely driven by an increase in the county Most affected by Hurricane Ian.
The state health department reports that as of Friday, there have been 65 cases of Vibrio vulnificus infection and 11 deaths in Florida this year. This compares with the 34 cases and 10 deaths reported during the whole of 2021.
In Lee County, where Ian stormed the beach last monthThe Ministry of Health has reported 29 cases this year and four deaths.
Health officials have not provided a breakdown of how many cases were before or after Ian was infected.
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Lee County health officials earlier this month warned people that a post-hurricane environment — including warm, stagnant waters — could pose a risk of potentially deadly bacteria.
“Flood waters and stagnant water after a hurricane pose many risks, including infectious diseases such as vibrio vulnificus,” the county health department said in an Oct. 3 press release urging the public to take precautions.
The warning said that people with open cuts, cuts or scrapes can be exposed to the bacteria through contact with seawater or salt water. People with open wounds should avoid these waters and seek medical attention immediately if an infection develops.
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