Hurricane Ian Ravages Florida Communities With Flesh-Eating Bacteria

Hurricane Ian Ravages Florida Communities With Flesh-Eating Bacteria

As of last Friday, 65 Vibrio vulnificus infections had been reported in the Sunshine State this year, compared to just 37 before Hurricane Ian hit on September 28.
Most of the new cases of Vibrio vulnificus, which eats away at the flesh in open wounds, were found in Lee County, home to the communities of Fort Myers and Sanibel Island.

“DOH-Lee is observing an abnormal increase in cases of Vibrio vulnificus infections as a result of exposure to the floodwaters and standing waters following Hurricane Ian,” said Lee County Department of Health spokesperson Tammy Soliz.

“Since September 29, 2022, 26 cases of Vibrio vulnificus associated with Hurricane Ian have been reported to DOH-Lee. All 26 cases had wound infections with exposure to Hurricane Ian floodwaters that occurred from the storm surge entering their homes or during post-storm clean-up. There have been six deaths among Lee County residents.”

Data from the Florida Department of Health show that at least 11 Floridians have died this year from Vibrio vulnificus infections.

Only ten fatalities and 34 instances of the infection were documented last year.

After Hurricane Ian hit Florida on October 3, health officials warned locals about the hazards of bacteria. The disease thrives in warm, brackish seawater and in coastal waters where sewage leaks.

Florida DOH spokesperson Jae Williams informed CNN that the number of reported cases is decreasing.

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