MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - If you're trying to beat the heat by taking a swim in Alabama's waters, state health officials are warning of just how easy it is to contract a potentially lethal bacteria.
The Alabama Department of Public Health has already warned of a bacteria known as Vibrio Vulnificus, which has been reported in the Gulf Coast along Alabama's beaches.
Friday, ADPH officials expanded that warning to include all lakes, rivers, beaches and any other body of water. The statement warned that the Vibrio bacteria can be acquired either through a break in the skin or by consuming contaminated seafood.
"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."
According to the ADPH, symptoms of acquiring the bacteria can 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.
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.