At least three people had passed away in Connecticut and New York after getting a rare flesh-eating bacteria that can be found in warm, brackish waters or raw seafood.
Director of communications for the state Department of Public Health, two people in Connecticut with Vibrio vulnificus and passed away after swimming in two different places on Long Island Sound.
According to the Department of Public Health, a third person contracted the illness in July after consuming raw oysters at a restaurant outside the state. According to the department, all three were between 60 and 80.
According to Long Island’s governor, Kathy Hochul, the virus was also found in someone who passed away on Wednesday. According to the news release, authorities are looking into the fatality in Suffolk County to establish whether the bacteria was found in New York waters or elsewhere.
The bacteria that causes cholera shares a family with Vibrio vulnificus.
Vibriosis, a bacterial infection, can result in skin sores, blisters, abscesses, and ulcers in moderate cases. Chills, fever, diarrhea, stomach ache, and sometimes vomiting are usual symptoms. People may get septicemia in more serious situations. People with underlying medical disorders, particularly liver disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV, or other illnesses that impair immunity, are more likely to experience this.
Vibriosis can affect anyone, but according to the press release, those who have an open wound, such as a cut, scrape, recent piercing, or new tattoo, should avoid going near warm seawater in coastal areas or wrap the area with a waterproof bandage.
In the event that you experience a skin infection after potentially being exposed to the bacteria, doctors advise that you seek medical attention right once.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that Vibrio vulnificus causes 80,000 illnesses and 100 fatalities in the US each year.
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Authorities warning citizens to exercise caution
Before consuming raw oysters or entering salty or brackish water, consumers are advised by Connecticut and New York officials to take measures.
“People should consider the potential risk of consuming raw oysters and exposure to salt or brackish water and take appropriate precautions,” Dr. Manisha Juthani, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health, said in a news release on July 28. “Particularly during the hottest months of the summer, bacteria are more likely to overgrow and contaminate raw shellfish.”
On Wednesday, the governor of New York concurred.
“While rare, the vibrio bacteria has unfortunately made it to this region and can be extraordinarily dangerous,” Hochul said. “As we investigate further, it is critical that all New Yorkers stay vigilant and take responsible precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, including protecting open wounds from seawater and for those with compromised immune systems, avoiding raw or undercooked shellfish which may carry the bacteria.”
In the summer, Connecticut routinely checks all of its oyster harvest locations for vibrio levels, and since 2014, the state has tightened its regulations on oyster harvesting.
According to the state’s Department of Agriculture, oyster harvesters are required to, among other things, shade oysters while on a vessel and in high-risk zones, and store harvested oysters in an ice slurry to lower the interior temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit within three hours of harvest.
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