31 In Florida Infected By Bacteria In Salt Water

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Associated Press Release
By TAMARA LUSH

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- State health department officials say 31 people across Florida have been infected this year by a potentially deadly, yet common bacteria that lives in salt water -- and 10 of those people have died.

But experts say the vast majority of people aren't at risk of contracting vibrio vulnificus (vih-BREE'-oh VUHL'-nihf-ih-kus), which lives in warm salt water.

Vibrio is contracted one of two ways: by eating tainted shellfish or when an open wound comes in contact with bacteria in warm seawater.

Dr. James Oliver, a Vibrio expert and a University of North Carolina professor, says most of the people who die from the disease have compromised immune systems.


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