Fourth case of flesh-eating bacteria found in Mobile County

The Mobile County Health Department has confirmed that a fourth person has contracted the flesh-eating bacteria, Vibrio, in the Fairhope area.

MCHD spokesman Mark Bryant said that the report of the woman contracting Vibrio vulnificus bacteria in Fairhope has attracted media attention across the United States.

“While the Mobile County Health Department is not involved with the Baldwin County case, our Infectious Diseases & Outbreak division has recorded several cases in Mobile County,” said Bryant.

This most recent reporting brings the total for Mobile County to four documented cases for 2017.

Three other case of the flesh-eating bacteria were confirmed by MCHD health officials on July 7.

However, Bryant said only three of the four cases occurred in Mobile County waters. The first case involved a Mobile County resident who consumed raw oysters in another state in March.

The second incident took place in April, and involved the consumption of raw oysters in Mobile County. Confirmation of the presence of Vibrio was received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The two most recent cases took place during June and came from exposure to a wound while in bodies of waters near Dauphin Island, the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay.

Bryant says the Vibrio bacteria naturally lives in certain coastal waters and are present in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer. However the bacteria can be present throughout the year in some areas.

To avoid the risk of infection the MCHD released a list of tips for residents to keep in mind.

  • Don’t eat raw uncooked oysters/shellfish
  • Good handwashing when handling shellfish
  • Avoid contamination with raw seafood
  • Don’t get in Brackish/salt water with cuts and scrapes
  • If exposed, wash area well and seek medical attention
  • Wear protective gloves when handling raw seafood
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