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Flesh-Eating Bacteria Infections Rise on East Coast Amid Rising Water Temperatures

Source:  The Daily Mail

Alarming new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals a disturbing trend: cases of the deadly flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio vulnificus have doubled on the East Coast compared to 2022. This surge, experts say, is directly linked to the rising water temperatures fueled by climate change. ‘Vibrio vulnificus infections are expected to become more common’ due to ‘coastal water rising temperatures.’  the report warns.

The CDC report, led by waterborne illness expert Michael Hughes, analyzed data from three states – North Carolina, Connecticut, and New York. The chilling findings:

  • Eleven infections were reported in July and August 2023, compared to only five in the same period last year.
  • Nine patients succumbed to the illness, highlighting its aggressive nature.
  • Warm coastal waters were identified as the source of infection in six cases, while two were linked to cuts sustained during raw fish preparation.

 This bacterium, which can penetrate the body through wounds and rapidly consume flesh, is particularly dangerous for individuals with underlying health conditions.

However, the CDC emphasizes that prevention is possible:

  • Don’t eat raw or undercooked oysters or other shellfish.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water after handling raw shellfish.
  • Stay out of salt water or brackish water if you have a wound (including from a recent surgery, piercing, or tattoo), or cover your wound with a waterproof bandage.
  • Wash wounds and cuts thoroughly with soap and water if they have been exposed to seawater or raw seafood or its juices.

While healthy individuals are generally at low risk, the CDC urges particular caution for those with underlying medical conditions like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease and those with weakened immune systems due to age, obesity, or medication use.

This disturbing trend underscores the urgent need to address the reality of the climate crisis and its ripple effects on public health. 

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