According to a new report, carnivorous bacteria living in the sea could spread to the beaches of the East Coast due to climate change.
Vibrio vulnificus, which is typically found in warmer waters over 55 degrees, eg. In the Gulf of Mexico, for example, it has found its way along the coast while ocean water continues to warm, according to the report's authors.
There have already been five cases of carnivorous bacterial infections in people exposed to Delaware Bay water, according to the report released this week
Annals of Internal Medicine
by six authors of Cooper University Hospital in New Jersey.
There were five cases of carnivorous bacteria in Delaware Bay between 201
One patient died while others suffered catastrophic injuries, including a man with four amputated limbs. The authors found that each of the patients had compromised the immune system at the time of infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 205 V. vulnificus infections are reported nationwide each year. The study found that the warmer water temperatures in the US led to "longer summer seasons and … changes in the amount, distribution and seasonal windows of bacteria" in the coastal ecosystem, creating "more favorable conditions for Vibrio".
The report states that while the infection is still rare in the far north, it has become increasingly prevalent on the east coast in recent years.
V. Vulnificus is typically contracted when an open wound is exposed to contaminated water or when eaten raw or uncooked shellfish that have been exposed to the bacteria.
"We believe that clinicians should be aware of the possibility that V. vulnificus infections occur more frequently outside of traditional geographic areas," the authors wrote in the report.
The authors point out that physicians who may be unfamiliar with carnivorous bacteria and infections should "be aware of the possibility that V. vulnificus infections occur more frequently outside traditional geographic areas".
According to Mayo Clinic health authorities, "a carnivorous disease occurs when bacteria invade the body through a skin injury. People with a weakened immune system may be at a higher risk of developing this condition. The condition is spreading fast. Symptoms include blisters, fever, fatigue, and pain, which are worse than a person would expect due to the appearance of the wound. "
IV antibiotics are administered immediately during treatment. Often, surgical removal of dead or infected tissue from the wound is required.
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