Title: CDC Issues National Health Alert on Fatal Flesh-Eating Bacteria in North Carolina
In a recent national health alert, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised concerns about the flesh-eating bacteria known as Vibrio vulnificus. The warning specifically applies to North Carolina, where three deaths related to the bacteria have already occurred this year.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is urging residents and visitors to exercise caution when in contact with saltwater or brackish water, as Vibrio can easily cause infection through open wounds. It is also important to note that consuming raw or undercooked oysters and shellfish can lead to Vibrio infection.
Statistics show that since 2019, there have been a total of 47 reported cases of Vibrio infection in North Carolina, with eight of them proving fatal. The most recent deaths occurred in July 2023, and two of the cases involved individuals with scratches exposed to brackish water.
To prevent the risk of infection, the CDC advises individuals with wounds to avoid contact with saltwater or brackish water whenever possible. However, if contact is unavoidable, it is crucial to cover the wounds with a waterproof bandage. Additionally, it is important to thoroughly wash any wounds or cuts with soap and water after contact with saltwater, brackish water, raw seafood, or any juices from seafood.
Symptoms of Vibrio infection may include watery diarrhea, stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, low blood pressure, blistering skin lesions, redness, pain, swelling, warmth, discoloration, and discharge from wound infections. If someone suspects they may have been infected, timely diagnosis is critical. Vibrio bacteria can be found in the wound, blood, or stool of an infected person. Treatment typically involves the use of antibiotics, while severe cases may require amputation to remove infected tissue.
The CDC’s health alert serves as a critical reminder for individuals to exercise caution when in contact with saltwater or raw seafood. It is important to prioritize personal safety and take necessary precautions to prevent infections caused by Vibrio vulnificus. By staying informed and implementing the recommended measures, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from the potential dangers associated with this flesh-eating bacteria.
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