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Water-Related News

Hurricane Ian storm surge led to record number of Vibrio vulnificus cases

Why the record number of ‘flesh-eating’ bacteria cases? Health department blames Hurricane Ian

With two months to go, Florida has already smashed a grim record this year: 65 infections of Vibrio vulnificus, a potentially deadly microbe known, though not quite correctly, as flesh-eating bacteria.

Lee County’s 29 cases and four deaths are the most in the state in both categories, a count Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani calls “off the charts."

Collier has had three cases and no deaths; Charlotte has had a single nonfatal case. Landlocked Hendry County had none. The state’s total is the highest ever since V. vulnificus infections started being tracked in 2008. The next-highest year was 2017, when Hurricane Irma caused extensive flooding. That year saw 50 cases statewide and 11 deaths, as many as this year.