Deadly bacterial infections surge in Florida after Hurricane Ian

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Florida is seeing a spike in infections caused by Vibrio vulnificus. The bacteria lives in warm, brackish sea water and may cause severe illness and death. 

Data from the state's health department shows there have been 65 cases and 11 deaths this year alone. Lee County, where Ian made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Sept. 28, has seen the most cases. As of Oct. 14, there were at least 29 cases of the infection and four deaths confirmed among Lee County residents. All but two of the Lee County cases were diagnosed after the hurricane, health officials told CBS News. 

For comparison, there were 34 cases and 10 deaths caused by the infection in Florida last year. The infection can be acquired when cuts and open wounds are exposed to contaminated water, or through the consumption of raw and undercooked seafood. Those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of severe infection from Vibrio vulnificus, the Lee County health department said in an Oct. 3 alert, warning residents to stay out of standing water and flood water. 

Infectious disease specialists have warned there would likely be a rise in a number of infections in the wake of the hurricane. 

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