Just a week after reports of a Vibrio vulnificus fatality in a Hillsborough County resident who contracted the lethal bacterial infection in Mississippi, the Florida Department of Health has reported the second case and death in a resident of the west-central Gulf coast county. The identification of this case has not been released.

Vibrio vulnificus/CDC
Vibrio vulnificus/CDC

In addition, a Lake County man, 26-year-old Cason Yeager contracted V. vulnificus swimming about 2 miles south of Pine Island Beach in Hernando County in waist-deep water. Unfortunately, Mr Yeagar died from his illness.

Currently, Florida has reported 11 cases and five deaths as of today. Broward and Hillsborough Counties have seen two cases a piece, while Brevard, Duval, Lake, Marion, Pasco, Santa Rosa and St. Lucie counties have seen one case each.

Last year, Florida reported 32 cases and seven deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium in the same family as those that cause cholera and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. It normally lives in warm seawater and is part of a group of vibrios that arecalled “halophilic” because they require salt.

V. vulnificus can cause disease in those who eat contaminated seafood or have an open wound that is exposed to seawater. Among healthy people, ingestion of V. vulnificus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In immunocompromised persons, particularly those with chronic liver disease,V. vulnificus can infect the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness characterized by fever and chills, decreased blood pressure (septic shock), and blistering skin lesions. V. vulnificus bloodstreaminfections are fatal about 50% of the time.

V. vulnificus can cause an infection of the skin when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater; theseinfections may lead to skin breakdown and ulceration. Persons who are immunocompromised are at higher risk for invasion of the organism into the bloodstream and potentially fatal complications.