Terrifying side-effect of Hurricane Ian is sudden surge in flesh-eating bugs

Terrifying side-effect of Hurricane Ian is sudden surge in flesh-eating bugs
US: Debris Clean Up Continues In Florida Two Weeks After Hurricane Ian …

Following last month's Category 4 storm Hurricane Ian ripping through Southwest Florida, a new terrifying side effect has been discovered - the rise of flesh-eating bacteria.

The storm caused devastating floods and killed over 100 people. Now that the storm has settled, a surge in Vibrio vulnificus (V.vulnificus) infections, or types of bacteria, was found in warm seawater.

It is sometimes known as a flesh-eating bacteria because it can lead to necrotizing fasciitis when the flesh surrounding a wound starts to rot and die.

And in the past few weeks in Florida, there have already been close to as many infections as there were for all of 2021.

In Lee County, which was hit hardest by Ian, six people have died due to wound infections being exposed to Hurricane Ian's flood waters that had entered their homes or in the post-storm clean-up.

The county's department of health warned people with open wounds to avoid seawater and floodwater.

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V. vulnificus is a highly deadly bacterial infection that kills one in five people it infects. It's usually entered through the bloodstream and causes sepsis.

Other symptoms of the infection include a dangerous drop in blood pressure, fever, skin lesions and more.

This year, 65 cases of the V. vulnificus infection were recorded in Florida, which is more than any other year since the data collection started in 2008.

There is a total of 11 deaths.

Data indicates that Lee County saw four deaths and 29 cases of the infection this year.

However, officials said there was an "abnormal increase due to the impacts of Hurricane Ian."

Out of the 29 cases in Lee Country, 26 of them occurred since the hurricane started on 29 September.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five people will die from contracting the infection, sometimes within a day or two.

It is also not spread from person to person.

But people don't just get the infection through open wounds. They can also get it if they come into contact with raw or undercooked seafood, saltwater, or brackish water.

Brackish water is a combination of fresh and salt water, which is often found when a river meets the sea.

Although anyone can get the infection, it is worse for people with weakened immune systems — particularly those who take medicine that inhibits the body's ability to fight germs or who have chronic liver disease.

If any fever, swelling, or other indications of the infection arises, people are urged to seek medical help.

Sewage spills in the coastal waters due to Hurricane Ian also promote the bacteria's growth, indicating a heightened risk of infections across the state at this time.

This isn't the only time health experts have warned about the hidden health risks from Ian's storms.

They also warned people of super-asthma, also dubbed thunder asthma or thunder hay fever phenomenon.

The intense storms sweep up tons of pollen and other respiratory allergens, which can irritate asthmatics' lungs and intensify symptoms such as asthma attacks.

This raises the risk of asthma attacks, with several studies showing they spike during and just after thunderstorms.

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