By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The Florida Department of Health reported an additional Vibrio vulnificus case this week in Lee County, located in Southwest Florida on the Gulf Coast.

Image/David Benbennick

This is the fifth case reported from the county and the 30th total case reported this year as of October 15– Brevard, Charlotte, Clay, Duval, Escambia (3), Franklin, Hernando, Hillsborough (2), Lee (5), Leon, Manatee (2), Orange, Palm Beach, Polk (3), Santa Rosa (2), Seminole, Taylor and Volusia (2).

The death toll remains at eight–Manatee (2), Duval, Escambia, Lee, Leon, Orange and Polk counties.

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.

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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.