Health officials warn about bacteria in Alabama waters - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Health officials warn about bacteria in Alabama waters

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The Alabama Department of Public Health has issued a warning about bacteria found in waters statewide.

ADPH had already warned of Vibrio Vulnificus, also commonly referred to as a flesh-eating bacteria, which has been reported in the Gulf Coast along Alabama's beaches. Vibrio can only be acquired in brackish or salt water, such as bay or gulf waters. It enters the body through a break in the skin or after contaminated seafood has been eaten. 

Vibrio does not affect freshwater, such as lakes, and won't appear in drinking water due to filter treatment processes, according to ADPH officials. 

ADPH's notice cautioned about additional non-flesh eating bacteria present in all lakes, rivers, beaches, and any other body of water, which can be contracted in the same manner as Vibrio.

Vibrio symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, chills, fever, shock, skin lesions and wound infections. If you get a cut while in the water, or experience any of these symptoms, officials are saying you should seek medical attention immediately. 

"Most soft-tissue infections occur with either injury or with conditions such as poorly controlled diabetes or low immunity," said Dr. Karen Landers, Assistant State Health Officer for the ADPH. "However, sometimes otherwise healthy people can develop a skin infection after skin injury and being exposed to natural bodies of water." She added, "Some bacteria can cause more severe infections than others."

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vibrio is to blame for an estimated 80,000 cases of sickness each year, with 100 of those resulting in death. Also, in the past 12 months alone, there have been 30 confirmed cases of this bacteria in Alabama. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This report previously stated that the warning for Vibrio Vulnificus had been expanded statewide. It has been updated to clarify that Vibrio Vulnificus occurs only in brackish or salt water and does not affect fresh water or drinking water. 

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