Potentially deadly bacteria sicken 5 along the Connecticut shoreline, prompting warnings

Connecticut health officials are warning residents along the state’s coastline of exposure to a potentially fatal infection that left five people ill.

The state’s health department said in a news release on Saturday that five patients in three different counties became infected in July or August after being exposed to salt or saltwater during activities such as swimming, crabs and boating. Was later hospitalized. All five had pre-existing lesions or had new lesions during these activities that caused infection.

The state’s epidemiologist Dr. “These five cases have been identified in two months,” Matthew Carter said in the release. “This suggests that Vibrio bacteria may be present in salt or saltwater or near Long Island Sound, and people should be cautious.”

The Health Department reported that Vibrio vulnicus infection is rare in 10 years since 2010 with Connecticut reporting only seven cases in 10 years.

It can occur when hot sores are exposed to hot salt or salt water, a mixture of salt and fresh water, and can cause serious illness, requiring intensive care or organ amputation. . About 1 to 5 people die from such Vibrio infection, sometimes becoming ill within a day or two.

The greatest risk of infection is elderly people and people with compromised immune systems.

In Connecticut, four men and a woman who were ill in July and August were all between the ages of 49 and 85. Two had contractile septicemia, one bleeding infection and three had severe wound infection. There have been no deaths in five cases in the state.

However, according to a June 2019 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a rare, Vibrio vulnicus infection may increase due to rising water temperatures due to climate change.

Bacteria can cause so-called meat-eating infections or necrotizing fasciitis, as well as diarrhea.

And, in the study, a team of infectious pathologists at Cooper University Health Care in Camden, New Jersey, described five cases of fibrocytis necrotizing fasciitis occurring during 2017 and 2018. In the eight years before 2017, doctors saw only one case of a potentially fatal infection.

All five cases occurred when patients were exposed to water and / or ate crabs from Delaware Bay. All patients received prompt medical and surgical management, but one patient died.

An infectious disease specialist at Cooper University Health Care, Dr. “As a result of our experience, we believe that physicians should be aware of the possibility that V. vulnicus infection is occurring more frequently outside traditional geographic areas,” said Catherine Doktor. Statement to NBC News at the time.