SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT – Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) warns residents in shoreline areas about potential hazards of exposure to salt or saltwater along the Long Island Sound due to abnormally high numbers of bacteria in the water Is giving
Since July, five cases of Vibrio vulnificus infection have been reported in DPH (one infection in July, four in August). Patients are from counties Fairfield (1), Middlesex (1), and New Haven (3) and are aged 49 to 85 years (median 73); 4 are male, 1 female. Two patients had septicemia (bleeding infection) and three had severe wound infections.
Patients were hospitalized in all five cases. There have been no deaths. All five cases reported exposure to salt or salt water during activities such as swimming, crabbing and boating. All five patients had pre-existing lesions or sustained new lesions during these activities, causing Vibrio infection.
Dr. Matthew Cartter, State Epidemiologist for DPH, said, “Identification of these five cases in two months is very important.” “This suggests that Vibrio bacteria may be present in salt or saltwater or near Long Island Sound, and people should be cautious.”
Vibrio vulnificus infection is an extremely rare disease. In the last 10 years, between 2010 – 2019, only seven cases were reported in Connecticut. V. Vulnicus can cause wound infection when open wounds are exposed to hot salt or salt water (a mixture of salt and fresh water). Bacteria, once inside the body, can infect the bloodstream causing septicemia.
V. People with vulnicus infection can become seriously ill and require intensive care or limb amputation. About 1 to 5 people die from such Vibrio infection, sometimes becoming ill within a day or two. Those at greatest risk of disease from V. vulnificus are those with a weakened immune system and the elderly.
You can reduce the chance of getting Vibrio wound infection by following these tips:
- If you have a wound (from a recent surgery, piercing, or tattoo), stay out of saltwater or saltwater if possible. It also includes wading on the beach.
- If you can come in contact with saltwater, saltwater, or raw or undercooked seafood and its juices, cover your wound with a waterproof bandage. This contact can occur during everyday activities such as swimming, fishing or walking on the beach.
- Wash the wounds thoroughly with soap and water after coming into contact with salt water, salt water, raw seafood or its juice.
For more information about V. vulnificus infection, visit https: //www.cdc.gov/vibrio/wou …