Florida health officials warn of bacteria, say some should stay out of saltwater

Health officials warn of the dangerous bacteria in Florida waters

Health officials say anyone with open wounds or scratches should stay out of the water. And everyone should avoid raw shellfish. In severe cases, the vibrio bacteria can break down the skin, requiring surgery, amputation or even death.

TAMPA,FL (WFLA)- Julie Dickerson is a bit worried by a potentially-deadly bacteria lurking in saltwater. But not enough to stay out of the water, even though she’s only entering knee-deep water. “Obviously, it’s not keeping the people out of the water,” Dickerson said. “And when you’re setting on the beach getting hot, the water is the solution.”

Her mother, sister and little niece, though, decided to stay parked safely on the beach. “Oh, I’ve just read so much about it and I would not recommend it to anyone,” said Carmen Schultz: The family was bit comforted by a sign posted at Ben T. Davis Beach that reads: “No Water Quality Advisory At This Time.”

But some find it a mixed message because the sign comes on the heels of a warning from the Florida Health Department about vibrio vulnificus, found in raw shellfish and warm saltwater.  So far this year, the state saw eight cases and two deaths. The department offers a video with advice on its website.

“The way to protect yourself from skin infections from vibrio is by performing good wound care and you do that by covering the wounds with dry clean bandages until they’re healed,” said Dr. Carina Blackmore, Deputy State Epidemiologist.

Health officials say anyone with open wounds or scratches should stay out of the water. And everyone should avoid raw shellfish. In severe cases, the vibrio bacteria can break down the skin, requiring surgery, amputation or even death.

That has Willie Savage’s attention, but for now, he doesn’t plan to avoid the beach. “I just moved here from Georgia,” he said. “I don’t have any open wounds and so far it looks like everyone is enjoying themselves on the beach.”

Copyright WFLA 2015. All rights reserved.

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

1 thought on “Florida health officials warn of bacteria, say some should stay out of saltwater

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s