Terrifying flesh-eating bacteria causes panic on Florida coast

An outbreak of the bacteria has already killed 2 people and sickened 7 — but are things about to get even worse?

A bacteria that causes awful symptoms has so far killed two people and infected seven so far this year, and it should serve as a warning to those who enjoy the warm waters of the Florida coast.

The vibrio vulnificus bacteria resulted in 32 infections last year, and about 85 percent of those were in the summer and early fall, meaning that the worst could be yet to come for the Sunshine State. The infection can be deadly, causing terrible illness in the body with symptoms ranging from vomiting to diarrhea to sepsis and even to death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as reported by Fox News.

Raw shellfish is typically the culprit, and when ingested this way it is usually accompanied by great abdominal discomfort and pain. Those who show symptoms are advised to seek medical attention right away to avoid death.

Raw oysters are a delicacy that is particularly popular among beachgoers, making many people who enjoy a little surf and sun at risk for contracting the disease. The best way to avoid it is to not eat raw shellfish, to avoid cross-contamination with cooked foods, and to eat cooked shellfish right away before spoilage sets in.

But that’s not the only way to contract the bacteria, as it can enter through open wounds. A swimmer that is stung by a stingray or tilapia may have the vibrio vulnificus bacteria in them, and if that’s the case the results can be deadly: skin lesions and sepsis often sets in, and sometimes the only way to save one’s life is to amputate a limb.

Those with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk, and are 80 times more likely to have it spread through the bloodstream.

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