Health Officials Say ‘Flesh-Eating’ Bacteria Poses No Threat To Florida Beaches

By  //  June 16, 2015

facts about Vibrio vulnificus infections

ABOVE VIDEO: Vibrio Vulnificus Q&A

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Florida health officials say recent reports about “flesh-eating” bacteria Vibrio vulnificus infections contained inaccuracies.

In the below statement on, Florida health officials said the state’s beaches and waters are safe, and encouraged families and tourists to visit them:

During the summer months, the Florida Department of Health sees an increase in reports of infections due to Vibrio vulnificus.

In an effort to educate the public on the proper precautionary measures, the Florida Department of Health has launched a new webpage to provide educational materials regarding this bacterium, which can cause serious illness or death.

Florida health officials say recent reports about “flesh-eating” bacteria Vibrio vulnificus infections contained inaccuracies. ( image)

The webpage contains background information on the disease, downloadable broadcast-quality video and a “frequently asked questions” section.

The department encourages Florida residents and visitors to learn about Vibrio, what causes infection and to take the proper precautions to stay safe this summer.

In 2015, the department has reported eight cases of Vibrio vulnificus infections which include two deaths.

The following are some important facts about Vibrio vulnificus:

• The bacterium does not pose a risk to a normally healthy person (who does not have open cuts or wounds) who swims in Florida’s coastal waters.

• Vibrio vulnificus infections are rare.

Florida’s beaches and water are safe to enjoy responsibly—risk of infection is minimal if you take proper precautions.

Dr. Heidar Heshmati
Dr. Heidar Heshmati

County Health Department Director, Heidar Heshmati, MD says, “Vibrio vulnificus bacteria naturally live in the river.  Every year we have a few cases of infection in humans due to water exposure.  People should be aware of their risk.  Boating and other sporting activities in the Indian River Lagoon are fine.  However, I recommend people not eat raw seafood and/or expose their self to the lagoon water if they have an open wound, especially if they have liver or immune system problems.”

Visit the department’s Vibrio vulnificus page for the latest information regarding Vibrio vulnificus infections, including case counts which is updated weekly and other educational materials regarding this bacterium.