Flesh-Eating Bacteria Cases Rise in Hurricane Ian’s Aftermath

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida’s Lee County last month as a category-five hurricane. The hurricane caused widespread destruction across a wide swath of Florida. As Florida’s communities attempt to rebuild and recover from the storm a new danger has risen to the surface of flood water. The rare flesh-eating bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, has seen a large rise in the number of cases across Lee County and neighboring Collier County.

Vibrio vulnificus is a rare flesh-eating bacteria found in warm, brackish waters. The infection is usually passed to humans through skin infections and undercooked shellfish. The record-breaking floodwaters in Lee County have proven to be the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria. Florida’s Department of Health reports a huge increase in the number of cases in Florida since Ian made landfall. The number of cases in Florida in 2022 has risen to 65, with 11 fatalities. The number of cases is an increase over the last two years.

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