Flesh-Eating Bacteria On the Rise: It Can Kill

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Health Editor’s Note: While this was historically a warm water infection, it seems that cooler waters are now harboring it…..Carol

Warming Waters May Be Driving Flesh-Eating Bacteria to East Coast Beaches

by Meilan Solly Smithsonian.com

Prior to last year, New Jersey’s Cooper University Hospital had only seen one case of Vibrio vulnificus, a flesh-eating bacterial infection linked with eating or handling contaminated shellfish, over the course of the previous eight years. But in 2017 and 2018, five patients afflicted with the infection sought treatment at the hospital, leading staff to wonder why the bacteria, which typically thrive in the warmer waters of the southeastern United States coast, were becoming increasingly common in regions outside of their traditional geographic boundaries.

A new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine implicates a potential culprit in V. vulnificus’ spread: climate change, as evidenced by rising temperatures in previously cooler bodies of water like the Delaware Bay.

Typically, the destructive bacteria thrive in slightly salty brackish waters with surface temperatures above 13 degrees Celsius, or 55.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Per CBS News’ Caitlin O’Kane, such conditions are often found in the Gulf of Mexico, along southern states including Texas and Louisiana, and south of the Chesapeake Bay.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. It’s a good thing that we are entering a solar minimum with its increased cloud cover due to cosmic ray interaction in our atmosphere.
    Stay well.
    Plant cold loving vegetables.

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