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Breck Bugle

Beware of this Bacteria!


A flesh-eating amoeba has been breaking news headlines recently, but what exactly is it, and should we be concerned? The amoeba causing this harm is called Vibrio vulnificus, resulting in an infection called Vibrio. This life-threatening bacteria can cause the flesh around an open wound to die, requiring amputation of limbs. The fatality rate for getting Vibrio is about 20%, up to 50% if left untreated. Most Vibrio infections occur when undercooked or raw shellfish is consumed. In many cases, people have gotten Vibrio from oysters. Infections can also occur from swimming in warm saltwater. Because Vibrio thrives in warm saltwater, it is most commonly found in the Gulf of Mexico and the North West coast of the US. Early symptoms of infection include cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, this can quickly worsen and become sepsis, an infection that causes the immune system to dysfunction. Some recent cases of Vibrio have occurred on the East Coast and in Florida. People suffering from liver disease or diabetes have the highest fatality rates when experiencing Vibrio, but this disease is very rare. There are generally not more than 200 cases of this most serious form of Vibrio. Overall, people should avoid uncooked shellfish, especially oysters, and make sure all other seafood is well cooked. People should also avoid going in warm seawater with open wounds, or washing the wound thoroughly if they do swim. However, do not be too concerned about Vibrio, especially as water temperatures start to get colder as we approach winter. And, we don’t need to worry about the salt water too much, living in Minnesota! So Mustangs, be aware, and don’t horse around with Vibrio.

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