Citrus County resident dies from saltwater bacteria

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA ) — A Citrus County resident has died from a Vibrio vulnificus saltwater bacteria infection, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The state keeps track of the number of persons who are diagnosed with Vibrio vulnificus infections and those who die as a result of the infection. The state does not release the names of those who are diagnosed with Vibrio vulnificus because of health privacy laws.

So far this year, four people in Florida have died from Vibrio vulnificus. Those who died were from Citrus, Broward, Palm Beach and Santa Rosa counties.

According to the Florida Department of Health, Vibrio vulnificus is a naturally occurring bacteria found in warm, brackish water.

The health department says persons with fresh cuts or scrapes should not enter the water. People who are immuno-compromised, those with chronic liver disease, kidney disease, or weakened immune system, should wear proper foot protection to prevent cuts and injury caused by rocks and shells on the beach.

There are other ways people can become infected with Vibrio vulnificus, including eating certain foods. Learn more here. 

There are no signs at Florida beaches warning beachgoers about the danger of Vibrio vulnificus. One beach bacteria victim contacted 8 On Your Side about his concerns. He wants the state to do more to warn the public.

Here’s a historical look at the number of cases and deaths in Florida since 2008-

  • 2008: 16 cases, 6 deaths
  • 2009: 24 cases, 7 deaths
  • 2010: 32 cases, 10 deaths
  • 2011: 35 cases, 13 deaths
  • 2012: 26 cases, 9 deaths
  • 2013: 41 cases, 12 deaths
  • 2014: 32 cases, 7 deaths
  • 2015: 45 cases, 14 deaths

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