United States

Deadly flesh-eating bacteria claims lives of three in Connecticut and New York

A fatal flesh-eating bacteria has wreaked havoc in New York and Connecticut. Three people have died as a result of this microscopic threat, leaving local authorities and medical professionals torn between the severity of its effects and the pressing need for a thorough knowledge of this vicious bacteria.

Representative image of flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio vulnificus

Confirmed on Wednesday, officials have reported unfortunate deaths of three individuals in Connecticut and New York due to contracting a rare flesh-eating bacteria. This bacteria, known as Vibrio vulnificus, can be found in warm, brackish waters as well as raw shellfish.

In separate incidents, two individuals in Connecticut died after being infected with Vibrio vulnificus following their swims in two different areas within Long Island Sound. Christopher Boyle, the  Director of  Communications for the state's Department of Public Health provided this information.

Furthermore, a third person became infected in July after consuming raw oysters from an out-of-state establishment, as stated by the Department of Public Health. The age range of all three victims was between 60 and 80 years old, according to the department.

Governor Kathy Hochul revealed that another case involving Vibrio vulnificus had been identified in an individual who passed away in Long Island. The circumstances of this death, which occurred in Suffolk County, are still under investigation to ascertain whether the bacteria was encountered in New York waters or elsewhere.

Vibrio vulnificus belongs to the same family as the bacteria responsible for causing cholera. A mild instance of the bacterial infection known as vibriosis can result in skin wounds, blisters, abscesses, and ulcers. Symptoms usually encompass chills, fever, diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting. In more severe situations, septicemia can develop, particularly among those with preexisting health conditions like liver disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV, or other immune system-suppressing diseases.

While vibriosis can affect anyone, individuals with open wounds, recent piercings or tattoos, should refrain from exposing their skin to warm coastal seawater or cover the affected area with a waterproof bandage, as advised in a news release.

Prompt medical attention is recommended if a skin infection develops after possible exposure to the bacteria. Vibrio vulnificus is responsible for around 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths annually in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health officials in Connecticut and New York are advising the public to exercise caution before consuming raw oysters or coming into contact with salty or brackish water. Governor Hochul echoed these sentiments and emphasized on the importance of vigilance and taking precautions, particularly for individuals with compromised immune systems.