Fishermen advised of dangers of flesh-eating bacteria
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advising fishermen to be aware of the potential danger of vibrio vulnificus (V. vulnificus) bacteria that can be found in saltwater.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), V. vulnificus can cause an infection of the skin when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater often leading to skin breakdown and ulceration. Vv is often called a “flesh eating bacterium”.
Persons whose immune systems are compromised are at a higher risk for invasion of the organism into the bloodstream and potentially fatal complications. The infections are fatal about 50 percent of the time.
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH) data indicates there are about 10 to 15 cases per year in the state. The majority get the infection from skin contact with sea water (80 percent) or consumption of raw seafood (20 percent).
A recent study showed that people with pre-existing medical conditions were 80 times more likely to develop Vv bloodstream infections than were healthy people.
Fishermen in saltwater should carry with them basic disinfectant (1 part chlorine bleach mixed with 4 parts fresh water or tincture of iodine or antibiotic ointment) and use if skin is punctured while handling fishing tackle, bait or fish.
If ulceration and rapid swelling around the wound area are noted, attention by a physician as soon as possible is advised. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/health/diseases.htm.
Posted on Tue, July 8, 2014
by Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries