Another “extraordinarily dangerous” flesh-eating bacteria claims lives of US citizens

A silent but deadly threat has emerged from the depths of warm coastal waters, casting a shadow of fear and concern. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has sounded the alarm after the tragic loss of three lives to a sinister foe – flesh-eating bacteria. The culprit, Vibrio vulnificus, a menacing strain found lurking in the waters, has inflicted severe illness and even death upon its victims, leaving communities in New York and Connecticut reeling in shock.

Vibriosis, the disease caused by Vibrio vulnificus, may be rare, but its potential for devastation is staggering. It has earned the grim moniker of “flesh-eating bacteria” for a reason, as it can lead to necrotizing fasciitis, a horrifying condition that results in the breakdown of skin and the formation of ulcers. ( This deadly bacteria finds its home in raw shellfish and seawater, lurking beneath the surface of what may appear to be inviting coastal waters.

The NYSDOH has issued a stern warning, urging caution and vigilance among those who are drawn to the allure of warm coastal waters. Individuals with open wounds or cuts are being advised to steer clear of these waters, as the risk of infection is heightened. Moreover, those with liver disease or weakened immune systems find themselves particularly vulnerable, as the bacteria can exploit these weaknesses to launch a potentially fatal assault on the body.

The chilling reality of this outbreak is underscored by the heart-wrenching stories of those who fell victim to Vibrio vulnificus. Among the casualties, a 75-year-old woman from Connecticut and two elderly individuals, a 77-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman from New York, met their untimely demise after swimming in the seemingly tranquil Long Island Sound. Their tragic fates serve as a stark reminder of the urgency of the situation and the need for swift and decisive action. (

In the wake of these devastating losses, Governor Kathy Hochul has risen to the occasion, rallying her constituents to remain vigilant and adopt preventive measures. Her impassioned plea resonates deeply as she emphasizes the gravity of the situation. ( “While rare, the vibrio bacterium has unfortunately made it to this region and can be extraordinarily dangerous,” Governor Hochul declared. Her words encapsulate the shared sense of responsibility and urgency that now unites the community.

As individuals grapple with the uncertainty posed by this insidious threat, the NYSDOH has outlined a series of precautions aimed at mitigating the risk of infection. A call to avoid swimming in warm coastal waters with open wounds or cuts rings out, accompanied by the importance of immediate post-swim showers. Additionally, those who sustain cuts or wounds while swimming are encouraged to clean them thoroughly and seek medical attention if infection sets in. ( The vulnerability of those with compromised immune systems or liver disease is acknowledged, warranting the counsel to abstain from swimming altogether.

Amid this unfolding crisis, your voices, thoughts, and experiences are vital. Have you or your loved ones encountered Vibrio vulnificus or similar threats? How do you view the delicate balance between enjoying the natural beauty of coastal waters and safeguarding your well-being? Share your insights in the comments below, joining a chorus of voices dedicated to understanding, addressing, and ultimately overcoming the challenges posed by this silent menace. ( Your perspective matters as we navigate the uncharted waters of this evolving situation, together.

Yael Wolfe

Writer, photographer, artist, and big, bad wolf. I’m a writer, photographer, and artist. I use my work to explore what it means to be a woman in this world.

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