There is plenty of time left in 2020 for more things to go horribly wrong. We have the ragging global COVID-19 pandemic. We have the more pedestrian West Nile Virus that reared its head in August – and Westchester County just reported the first death this year related to West Nile (in Yonkers).
But how about some fresh eating bacteria in the Long Island Sound?
Over the weekend the Connecticut State Department of Health warned “residents in shoreline areas about the potential dangers of exposure to salt or brackish water along Long Island Sound, due to an unusually high number of infections caused by bacteria in the water. Since July, five cases of Vibrio vulnificus infections have been reported to [CT Department of Health]”. All five cases patients were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Describing this bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control says “Vibrio vulnificus, can cause life-threatening wound infections. Many people with Vibrio vulnificus infection require intensive care or limb amputations, and about 1 in 5 people with this infection die, sometimes within a day or two of becoming ill.”
The CDC continues “Some Vibrio vulnificus infections lead to necrotizing fasciitis, a severe infection in which the flesh around an open wound dies. Some media reports call this kind of infection “flesh-eating bacteria,” even though necrotizing fasciitis can be caused by more than one type of bacteria.”
So should you cross swimming and boating off your pandemic-safe activity list? Cancel the regatta? The tubing with the kids? The walk along the shore?
According the the Connecticut health authorities, people at greatest risk for illness from Vibrio vulnificus are those with weakened immune systems and the elderly. And the CDC offers “If you have a wound (including from a recent surgery, piercing, or tattoo), stay out of saltwater or brackish water, if possible. This includes wading at the beach.”
Go wash your hands. If if you have a wound, please wash that too!
CDC on: Vibrio vulnificus & Wounds
Video from WABC-TV if you don’t like to read: