SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A flesh-eating bacteria has infected a handful of beach-goers on the Suncoast. So does this mean going in the water can be dangerous?
According to doctors, these cases are not something the public should be too worried about, but instead just be aware. We have warmer temperatures which means the presence of bacteria is higher right now.
“Flesh eating bacteria or Necrotizing Fasciitis is the fascia, which is the layer underneath the skin, gets inflamed and infected. It’s basically a glorified cellulitis infection, which is very common," Dr. David Rizzo explained.
All the victims of this infection have had close to the same experience: A cut or open wound becoming red and swollen after being at the beach and going swimming. Afterwards they were diagnosed with Necrotizing Fasciitis - flesh eating bacteria.
While the virus has raised concerns to anyone who hears about it, not everyone is at risk of infection.
“It’s almost always in patients with an immune-deficient state to begin with, so there was a prior chronic condition before getting the infection," Dr. Rizzo continued, “Most people with a healthy immune system are able to fight it off.”
What can you do to protect yourself if you are at risk? Make sure to not have any open wounds exposed – even when you’re not at the beach because the bacteria can be found anywhere. Also, don’t panic if you begin to feel symptoms.
“When you hear the word “flesh-eating bacteria" you automatically think it’s going to spread throughout your body and just consume you. Can it? Yes, but that’s if it’s left untreated. You have to do the right thing and seek medical attention,” Dr. Rizzo told us.
Aside from swelling or pain in the affected area, other symptoms include fever dizziness. This type of bacteria infection can be cured completely if treated as quickly as possible.