Flesh-eating bacteria has killed five people in Tampa Bay and officials have warned locals not to enter the sea with any cuts or grazes on their skin.

There have been 26 reported infections of vibrio vulnificus in Florida so far this year and it is known to lurk in brackish seawater as it requires salt to live. 

Around one in five people can die within a day or two of becoming ill when they catch the bacteria.  

While infection is rare, health officials are calling on people with open wounds to stay out of the water to cut any risk. 

Two people died in Hillsborough County and one person each in Pasco, Polk and Sarasota.

Beachgoers can be exposed to the dangerous bacteria through direct contact with the mixture of fresh and seawater. 

‘Water and wounds do not mix. Do not enter the water if you have fresh cuts or scrapes,’ a Florida health warning stated. 

It asked those who are immunocompromised to wear proper foot protection in order to prevent cuts and injury caused by rocks and shells on the beach. 

Vibrio vulnificus infections can lead to necrotizing fasciitis which is a severe infection where the flesh surrounding an open wound dies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Although this can also be caused by different types of bacteria. 

The flesh-eating bacteria can cause an infection of the skin and can cause it to breakdown or produce painful ulcers. 

It can be more severe for those who have weakened immune systems.

The bacteria can invade the bloodstream and cause severe life-threatening symptoms including decreased blood pressure, fever, chills and blistering skin lesions.

Vibrio vulnificus can also be contracted by eating raw or undercooked shellfish and oysters…Source – Read More!

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