FL County Sees Spike In ‘Flesh-Eating’ Bacteria After Hurricane Ian

FORT MYERS FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Stedi Scuderi looks over her apartment after flood water inundated it when Hurricane Ian passed through the area on September 29, 2022 in Fort Myers, Florida. The hurricane brought high winds, storm surge and rain to the area causing severe damage. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

At a glance

  • Lee County in southwest Florida, where Hurricane Ian made landfall Sept. 28, is experiencing storm surges that have led to potentially deadly infections caused by Vibrio vulnificus.
  • This bacteria is found in warm, brackish water, can enter the body through cuts and open wounds, and can cause severe, potentially life-threatening infections.
  • Vibrio vulnificus is known as a flesh-eating bacteria because primary skin infections can devolve into necrotizing fasciitis, a rare condition that causes tissue breakdown and at times requires amputation to prevent further spread.

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