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Flesh-Eating Bacteria Confirmed in Mobile Co.
MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WPMI) The Mobile County Health Department confirmed there has been at least one case of the Vibrio Vulnificus in Mobile County. Health officials said a man in south Mobile County contracted it after entering the water with an open sore.
Cases have popped up in Santa Rosa County, Fla. and now officials are urging people to watch out before hitting the waters.
"Once it gets in the blood stream, it just runs rampant," said Compass Urgent Cares Dr. Richard Oyler. "If you guess wrong with this one, I mean it could be life threatening as we've seen in Florida recently."
Twenty seven cases have been reported in Florida causing nine deaths. One Santa Rosa County man said his friend died just days after a fishing trip where entered the water with an open wound on his leg.
"By Wednesday afternoon after that fishing trip his leg had swollen up," said friend of victim Allan Little. "About Friday night it had gotten into his blood stream and he passed away."
Dr. Oyler said the bacteria can be found in Alabama, as in the Gulf and near Mobile Bay.
There are two ways someone can get infected: "One is from an open sore on the body and typically the legs where you walk out on to the warm salty, brackish water, bay water in the Gulf," said Dr. Oyler. "The other way would be ingesting it or eating it like um raw oysters would be a classic example."
Dr. Oyler said those with a compromised immune system are even more at risk to get the infection.
Dr. Oyler said, "If you have hepatitis liver disease from a lot of alcohol ingestion, that sort of thing, those put you almost 80 times the risk of a normal person."
He added, "The bacteria been there forever, and we've lived with it forever. It's a known hazard down here and you just need to be smart."
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and blisters at the site of a wound. Dr. Oyler said the infection can be treated with antibiotics if caught in time so it is important to seek medical help if you experience any of those symptoms.