Volusia County Health Department Warns Of Saltwater Bacteria

By on July 11, 2016 in WNDB News

Brackish Water

Volusia County, FL-Health officials in Volusia County are urging Floridians and visitors to take precautions against a naturally occurring organism. Dr. Paul A. Rehme, county director of disease control, said Vibrio vulnificus is found in warm brackish water.

Rehme warns that the bacteria can cause a skin infection when open wounds are exposed. It also can contaminate shellfish, such as oysters, clams, and mussels. Ingestion of Vibrio vulnificus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

This bacteria has taken the lives of four people in Florida this year in Broward, Citrus, Palm Beach and Santa Rosa counties. Rehme said that the bacteria is NOT the same as the flesh-eating amoeba which is found in freshwater.

Vibrio, as it’s commonly referred to, lives in warm coastal areas with brackish water such as the Halifax and Indian rivers, according to Rehme. It is found in higher concentrations in stagnant, inshore waters during warm, rainy months from April – November.

Anglers and swimmers in brackish water are most at risk. Rehme added, “People with weakened immune systems or other chronic illnesses are most likely to develop severe infections or die from contracting Vibrio.”

“It’s an old wives’ tale that we should rinse wound infections in salt water to clean them,” Rehme explained. “That’s the wrong thing to do especially during warm months of the year.”

Additional information is online at the DOH website.

(Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2016.


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