Unfortunate news has come from Tampa, Florida. In the warm waters of Tampa Bay, there’s a rare type of germ causing problems. It’s called Vibrio vulnificus, and it can be really harmful. Some folks have gotten sick from it, and sadly, five people have even lost their lives due to it.
The doctors explain that this germ lives in salty ocean water. Since January 2023, there have been 25 cases of people getting sick from it, and unfortunately, five people have died because of it. It’s super important to know about this germ if you live in Florida and enjoy spending time at the beach.
Dr. Eric Shamas, a doctor who helps people during emergencies, says, “Since we live in Florida and spend time in the ocean, we really need to understand this germ.”
Various counties in Florida have been affected by it. Last year, in 2022, there were 74 cases and 17 deaths caused by this germ. Many of these happened in Lee County after a big storm flooded the area.
You can catch this germ if you eat raw shellfish, such as oysters, or if you go into the ocean with a cut on your skin. This is especially risky during the summertime. Dr. Shamas explains, “If your skin has a break, and you’re in the ocean, there’s a chance you might get sick.”
The doctors advise, “If you have cuts, it’s best not to go into the water.” If you do get a cut while in the water, make sure to clean it really well with soap and water. If you start feeling unwell, it’s important to speak with your doctor.
This germ can make you throw up, experience belly pain, and cause issues with your skin if you have a cut. However, if you’re generally healthy, it might not be so severe. But if your health isn’t great or you have liver problems, this germ can be extremely dangerous and even deadly.
To stay safe, it’s a good idea to avoid eating raw shellfish, make sure to cook it thoroughly if you do want to eat it, and be careful not to mix raw seafood with cooked seafood. If you have cuts, it’s best to avoid getting into salty water. And if you work with shellfish, be sure to wear protective gear. If you suspect you might be sick, don’t hesitate to see a doctor as soon as possible. Let’s all stay safe and look out for one another!