Is climate change causing a rise in flesh-eating bacteria?
As a new study details how climate change could be blamed for a rise in flesh-eating bacteria cases. Experts say the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico are the perfect breeding grounds for the bacteria.
Most recently, a San Marcos man died after swimming in Turtle Lake near Palacios in June. He had contracted Vibrio vulnificus, the rare infection often linked to time spent in or near water.
The bacteria thrive in warm, brackish waters, including those on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Several other cases have been reported nationwide, including at least two other deaths linked to the infection.
In a study released in the Annals of Internal Medicine, experts discovered medical cases involving Vibrio vulnificus were on the rise in Delaware Bay, with credit given to rising ocean temperatures, according to Philly Mag.
In the Gulf of Mexico, the number of bacteria increases as water temperatures get warmer, specifically when they're more than 85 degrees, Florida Gulf Coast University Biological Sciences Chair Clifford Renk told WBBH-TV.
"If they're going into the beach and swimming in the water, they should take appropriate precautions," Renk said. "If they have open cuts or abrasions, they should wash them out, that type of thing. Other than that, they're probably fine."
See some of the most recent cases of flesh eating bacteria in the gallery above.
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