Flesh-eating bacteria infects 3 in Alabama county

Mobile (Ala.) County Health Department officials confirmed three cases of vibrio vulnificus bacteria in the county, according to WALA-TV.

One individual acquired the flesh-eating bacteria after consuming raw oysters outside of the state. The two other individuals caught the infection via open-wound exposure to the bacteria in Alabama-area waters last month. One such case occurred in a 70-year-old Mississippi woman visiting the area, who was reportedly pricked by a live shrimp while reaching into a bait bucket. When she returned to Mississippi, her hand swelled up, and she experienced headaches, fever and chills. She was hospitalized in Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, Miss.

The Alabama health department is working with Mississippi health officials to investigate the case, according to Karen Landers, MD, assistant state health officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

"This is not a common occurrence, and for that we are very grateful," Dr. Landers told WALA-TV. "I think there are about 1,000 cases a year reported in the United States. It's not common, but when people have it, it's pretty severe."

To learn more about Vibrio bacteria, click here.

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