By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Florida state health officials have reported more Vibrio vulnificus cases and deaths than this year than was reported in 2019, according to the latest data.

Through November 6, the Department of Health saw 33 cases in 20 counties with Brevard and Hernando counties reporting the most with four each.

Six death have been reported to date from Duval, Hernando, Lake, Martin, Pasco and Santa Rosa, each reporting one fatality each.

This compares to all of 2019 when 27 V. vulnificus cases were seen, including two fatalities.

Since 2008, the Sunshine state has seen a total of 449 cases and 116 deaths, including what has been reported this year. This is slightly more than a 25 percent death rate.

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.

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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.