The Florida Department of Health (DOH) reported two additional confirmed cases of Vibrio vulnificus infection in the state this past week.

Florida map/National Atlas of the United States
Florida map/National Atlas of the United States

The new cases were reported in individuals from Indian River and Clay Counties, bringing the state total to 23 through Aug. 19.

The death toll due to the bacterial disease remains at five with fatalities reported from Broward, Citrus, Palm Beach, Santa Rosa and Sarasota counties.

Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that is a rare cause of illness in the United States . The illness is very different from cholera, which is caused by different bacteria, called Vibrio cholerae.

V. vulnificus infections do not spread directly from one person to another and are a serious health threat predominantly to persons with underlying illness, such as liver disease, or a compromised immune system.

The organism is a natural inhabitant of warm coastal waters. Infection can occur after a wound is exposed to warm coastal waters where the V. vulnificus organism is growing. Infection may also be acquired by eating raw or undercooked seafood from those waters.