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The Vibrio vulnificus Bacteria is putting the East Coast on high alert with three confirmed deaths this summer.
The warming of coastal waters gives the bacteria the opportunity to multiply naturally.
Swimming in open-cut bodies of water or eating contaminated raw shellfish poses the greatest danger.
Three deaths in the Northeast from an unusual flesh-eating bacterium were due to both swimming in infected warm water and contaminated raw shellfish. That has put the entire region on high alert, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned of the growing dangers of the bacteria.
And it’s best to take this seriously, because Vibrio vulnificus It has been known to kill people in just a day or two.
Two deaths in Connecticut, one in New York, and a possible fourth in New York are all related Vibrio vulnificusa bacterium that grows in warm brackish water and can live on raw shellfish.
This is a known hazard in the warm waters of the south, but record-breaking water temperatures have spread the problem north. “It’s rare, but vibrio Unfortunately, bacteria have made it into this region and can be extremely dangerous,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in one opinion.
“I’ve been looking at sea surface temperature maps and I’ve noticed that everywhere south of Cape Cod, areas with temperatures above 20°C are reached [Vibrio] It’s really getting more infections,” said Karen Knee, associate professor and water quality expert at American University. told Wired. “And that’s most of the bathing water on the east coast.”
The CDC issued an emergency health alert for severe cases Vibrio vulnificus Infections on September 1 thanks to warming of coastal waters. The CDC says vibrio causes about 80,000 illnesses each year, with most people struggling with an infection that causes diarrhea and sometimes stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. It is the V. vulnificus This can lead to life-threatening infections, with one in five infected people dying, sometimes within a day or two of becoming ill.
vibrio They naturally live in coastal waters, including salt water and brackish water, which is a mix of salt and fresh water. More than half of the diseases caused by vibrio are linked to eating raw or undercooked shellfish, but tens of thousands of cases are still due to swimming in infected waters with an open wound or small cut.
In Connecticut, the two deaths are linked to swimming in Long Island Sound. The confirmed death in New York is linked to eating raw oysters. All three people were between 60 and 80 years old, after To CNN.
A 2023 study from the UK shows that vibrio is becoming more common thanks to warming waters in North America. The study says infections have increased eight-fold over the past 30 years and the mortality rate is 18 percent. And every year, the falls spread north — about 30 miles a year.
What used to be a more isolated issue due to temperatures is now growing, both in terms of location and duration. “We’ve gone from being a problem mostly from late July through early October to now being present from April through November,” said Geoffrey Scott, associate professor of environmental science at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. told Wired.
As risks mount, experts warn of the need for alerts so that if a small infection starts, people seek medical attention immediately — especially antibiotics — rather than wait until the next day, when the meat can be eaten already started.
“Maybe people down here have a mate who’s injured themselves on a clam or while fishing and their finger is a little red and swollen, and someone’s going to say, ‘Don’t sleep on it.’ “I had a buddy who waited until the next morning and then lost his hand,” said Brett Froelich, a microbiologist and assistant professor at George Mason University in Virginia. told Wired. “Other people in other places don’t know that. They will absolutely think, “I hope tomorrow morning will be better,” and in the morning their hands will be black.”
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