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Flesh-Eating Bacteria That Thrives in Warm Seas Kills One in Florida

By By Katy Galimberti, Staff Writer
August 02, 2014, 12:28:24 AM EDT

A flesh-eating bacteria that thrives in warm seas has killed one person in Sarasota County, Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Officials have warned of eating raw oysters from the area and exposing open wounds to the waters, the most common infection points of Vibrio vulnificus, the deadly bacteria.

The Center for Disease Control explains that Vibrio vulnificus thrives in isolated areas of warm sea waters. Risks are highest during summer months due to the peak temperatures.

While no exact date of infection has been given, water surface temperatures in the Sarasota area over the past week have been slightly higher than normal, according to AccuWeather Expert Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.

"It's certainly nothing out of the ordinary, but surface temperatures are very warm," he said.

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Waters are warmer along the area due to the Gulf Stream, which is a warm ocean current flowing from south to north in the western Atlantic.

This is the second case of Vibrio vulnificus reported within the county for the month of July. The other case resulted in sickness. The county's Department of Health said that both individuals were middle-aged and had compromising medical conditions.


In 2013, the state of Florida reported 41 cases, 11 of which resulted in death. This is the 11th reported case for 2014.

Those who may have swam in the waters are encouraged to properly rinse off after ocean contact and to eat shellfish that have been properly cooked which eliminates any remaining bacteria.

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