KNOXVILLE, Tennessee – Several cases of carnivorous bacteria, also known as necrotizing fasciitis, have housed people in hospitals in the United States and killed some carnivorous bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, while on vacation in Destin, Florida.
So, how common is it, and should you be worried about swimming in oceans, rivers or lakes?
Are carnivorous bacteria on the rise?
Mark Rasnake, an infectious disease doctor at the University of Tennessee, told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they had not published any reports this year confirming an increase in cases of carnivorous bacteria.
"I think it's just one of those things that may be compounded by social media." Rasnake said.
Necrotizing fasciitis is the death of deep tissue, and several types of bacteria can become "carnivorous," including group A streptococci, which cause sore throat but are not associated with water, according to Rasnake.
The CDC has necrotizing fasciitis in the US caused by group A Strep. The website reports that since 201
About one in three dies from the infection, according to the CDC.  What you need to know about Vibrio: Maryland boy, infected with carnivorous bacteria.
According to Rasnake, 20 to 30 types of bacteria can be a source.
The bacteria associated with saltwater derived from the consumption of raw oysters are Vibrio vulnificus, while the bacteria found in freshwater sources such as the Tennessee River are Aeromonas.
Vibrio vulnificus and Aeromonas occur naturally in warmer waters. Rasnake said that July and August are the months when the chance of getting infected with the bacteria increases as the bacteria and the number of people enjoying the water increase.
In Virginia, health officials warn of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a likewise carnivorous bacterial agent.
This year, nine infections have occurred in the region and one person has died. According to the Virginia Department of Health, Vibrio parahaemolyticus is the most commonly reported type of Vibrio infection in this condition. The number of cases tends to increase between April and October due to warmer seawater temperatures.
More: Carnivorous Bacteria Kill 1, Infect 9 in Virginia
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The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation monitors the bacterial content at hundreds of locations in Tennessee and uses E. coli as an indicator of the presence of bacteria under the guidelines of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, according to which contaminants are routinely monitored. TDEC Deputy Communications Director Kim Schofiniski called on the public to follow all published advice on the consumption of bacteria and fish to prevent bacterial contamination.
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Are carnivorous bacteria contagious?
Most cases of necrotizing fasciitis occur randomly, according to the CDC website.
It is very rare for someone to transmit the infection to other people.
"Because of this, doctors usually do not give preventive antibiotics to close contacts of people with necrotizing fasciitis," the CDC said.
Moving North as the Climate Warms Up According to Rasnake, sea temperatures have increased and he expects the bacteria to be found further north.
"When sea temperatures warm in places where these bacteria did not previously live, they start to multiply … You can certainly start seeing more cases in parts of the country that you did not necessarily see before had, as the northeastern beaches, "said Rasnake.
In combination with an aging population that lives longer, more and more people are taking immunosuppressive medications and cases could increase, he said.
Climate change blame? An increase in cases of carnivorous bacteria could be related to climate change, say doctors.
Post: USA TODAY
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