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The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

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Flesh-eating bacteria resides in local waters

A+picture+of+Witch+Duck+Bay+shows+green+waters+near+Pembroke+Manor+on+Sept.+24%2C+2023%2C+which+represents+potential+contaminants+found+in+lakes.
Andrew Wu
A picture of Witch Duck Bay shows green waters near Pembroke Manor on Sept. 24, 2023, which represents potential contaminants found in lakes.

Vibrio vulnificus, otherwise known as Vibrio, is a flesh-eating bacteria which lives primarily in the Chesapeake Bay, but also in warm marine waters along the coast of Virginia Beach. 

Found in brackish and salty bodies of water, this bacteria has claimed to cause severe illnesses.

According to the CDC, many people with Vibrio infections require intensive care or limb amputations, and about one in five people with this infection die, sometimes within a day or two of becoming sick.

Although it may sound concerning, vibrio is not contagious and severe cases are rare.

“You can be exposed to Vibrio and potentially become ill with an infection called vibriosis by eating raw or undercooked seafood, or by swimming in salt or brackish water with an open wound,” according to the VDH (Virginia Department of Health). 

Biology teacher Jeremy Schratweiser warns Vibrio vulnificus and its other domains can lead to Necrotizing Fasciitis, a severe infection in which the flesh around an open wound dies.

There are several ways to lower risk of infection. 

“Do not swim with open wounds, scratches or ear infections” and “avoid raw and undercooked shellfish,” are some tips provided by the Chesapeake Bay Program. If any signs of abnormalities or infection are shown, visit a health care provider for treatment.

“I eat seafood pretty regularly, so it concerns me that I could potentially lose my skin if I get infected,” said junior Minh Ngo. “I will make sure I wash my hands well after I handle raw seafood or meats.”

Experts caution that many cases go unreported, therefore the exact number of reported cases are relatively unknown, according to the CDC.

“It never hurts to take an extra precautionary measure, especially if it can save your life,” said junior Louie Roma.

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About the Contributor
Andrew Wu, Copy Editor
Andrew, a junior, is a third-year journalism student and copy editor for The Current. He enjoys playing basketball and hanging out with friends outside of school. After high school, he plans to pursue a psychology or mechanical engineering degree in college.

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