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The Florida Department of Health has seen an average of 33 Vibrio vulnificus cases since 2008, including 10 fatalities.

To date in 2017, health officials have reported 10 cases, including one death.

Vibrio vulnificus/CDC
Vibrio vulnificus/CDC

Three cases have been seen in Sumter County, while the following counties have reported one case each: Charlotte, Citrus, Duval, Lee, Orange, Pasco and Santa Rosa. The Orange County patient is the one fatality reported to date, according to DOH numbers.

Last year, Florida reported 46 cases, including 10 deaths.

Vibrio vulnificus can cause disease in those who eat contaminated seafood or have an open wound that is exposed to warm seawater containing the bacteria. Ingestion of Vibrio vulnificus can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Vibrio vulnificus can also cause an infection of the skin when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater; these infections may lead to skin breakdown and ulcers.

Healthy individuals typically develop a mild disease; however, Vibrio vulnificus infections can be a serious concern for people who have weakened immune systems, particularly those with chronic liver disease.

The bacterium can invade the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness with symptoms like fever, chills, decreased blood pressure (septic shock) and blistering skin lesions. Vibrio vulnificus bloodstream infections are fatal about 50 percent of the time. A recent study showed that people with these pre-existing medical conditions were 80 times more likely to develop Vibrio vulnificus bloodstream infections than healthy people.