BONITA BEACH, Fla. - For weeks, WINK News has been alerting you after at least 10 people died across the state from a specific infection contracted from the saltwater.
Vibrio Vulnificus can get into even the smallest cut. While we've certainly been hearing a lot more about it this year, WINK pulled the numbers and the truth is, we are right on par with the last few years in Florida. Still, Diane Holm with the Florida Department of Health in Lee County says it's seeing a spike in concern. So, we are examining the facts versus fiction.
Lee County has had one confirmed case of Vibrio Vulnificus that resulted in death. There have been 10 fatalities statewide on 2013. Looking back, there were 9 deaths last year, 13 in 2011 and 10 in 2010.
Holm said only half of the cases are caused by the water. The other 50% come from eating raw shellfish. And, she said there's no scientific evidence that a person can contract Vibrio Vulnificus through a bee sting.
The good news is that the bacterium generally lives in warm saltwater, so as water temperature goes down, so does the threat.
If there is a threat in the water, why not post warning signs? Holm said Vibrio Vulnificus, just like the deadly amoebas found in lakes, are naturally occurring and appear year after year. She said it would be impossible to post signs, because everywhere there's warm saltwater, there could be bacteria. Her best advice: use common sense. Don't go into the water with an open cut and cook your shellfish.