HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – A Hillsborough County man, visiting Mississippi has become the third Florida resident to die from Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria that lives in warm seawater. The man contracted the deadly bacterial infection from seawater exposure while in Mississippi.
Florida health officials say they’ve had 10 cases this year and four deaths. Advisories have warned people to avoid eating raw shellfish and urged anyone with open wounds or scratches to stay out of the water. In severe cases, the vibrio bacteria can break down the skin, requiring surgery, amputation or even causing death, hence the misnomer “flesh eating bacteria.”
In 2014, there were 32 Vibrio vulnificus cases in Florida. Of those cases, four involved Pinellas County residents, three involved Hillsborough County residents, two involved Sarasota County residents, Polk, Pasco and Citrus Counites each had one case. In 2014, seven Floridians died from Vibrio vulnificus, all lived outside of the Tampa Bay area except one victim who lived in Sarasota, according to state health records.
Meanwhile, Texas beaches are reporting spurts of enterococci bacteria (feces) due to heavy rains upstream. The bacteria is not deadly but you can contract a urinary tract infection or meningitis.