Flesh-eating bacteria cases in New Jersey may be related to climate change

Five recent cases of flesh-eating bacteria contracted in New Jersey's Delaware Bay may be related to rising water temperatures due to climate change, according to The Courier-Post.

A letter published June 18 in Annals of Internal Medicine says five patients in 2017 and 2018 were infected with vibrio, a flesh-eating bacteria, at Delaware Bay. One of the patients died. Others required amputations and skin grafts.

All patients were males aged 38-64 and had another risk factor that made them susceptible to the disease, such as diabetes. Two or three surgeries are often required to remove the bacteria. Infections can lead to sepsis, amputations and other adverse outcomes.

Vibrio bacteria are common on the southeastern coast of the United States, where they thrive in warm and brackish water. Infections in Delaware Bay were previously rare, but researchers hypothesize rising water temperatures and climate change may have something to do with the recent increase in cases.

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