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Health Officials: 'Vibrio not Flesh-Eating'

vibrio vulnificus bacteria
vibrio vulnificus bacteria

The Twitterverse is blowing up with claims that Florida has a "flesh-eating" bacteria but state health officials are trying to tamp down what they say is wrong information.


Vibro vulnificus is a naturally occurring bacteria in warm salt water. reports at least seven people have caught the bacteria this year in Florida, and two of them have died from it. But health officials say it is rare, and infection symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, blistering wounds, sepsis and sometimes death.

Dr. Carina Blackmore, Deputy State Epidemiologist said it's easy to avoid the bacteria. If you have open wounds, stay out of the water until your sores are healed. And don't eat undercooked shellfish. Health officials advise people with compromised immune systems to wear water shoes if they plan to wade in, so they don't damage their feet on the rocks or shells.  

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Susan Giles Wantuck is our midday news host, and a producer and reporter for WUSF Public Media who focuses her storytelling on arts, culture and history.