MCHD: 3 confirmed cases of flesh eating bacteria in Mobile County

ADPH looking into case of flesh eating bacteria on Gulf Coast
Posted at 10:34 AM, Jul 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-07 06:34:32-04
MOBILE COUNTY, AL (WALA) - Barbara Gibbs with The Alabama Department of Health has confirmed three cases of flesh eating bacteria, or "vibrio vulnificus," in Mobile County.

Gibbs, who oversees the Infectious Disease and Control Department, said one case was from an individual who consumed raw oysters in another state and the other two cases were due to exposure to open wounds in area waters.

Officials say the latter two cases happened during the month of June; one in the Mississippi Sound and the other was on Dauphin Island. They say all three cases are "mild cases." 

Earlier this week, the Gulf Coast News Today reported a 70-year-old Mississippi woman started getting symptoms after fishing off the Fairhope Pier.

In the case of the unidentified Mississippi woman, we're told she reached into the bait bucket, where a live shrimp pricked her. After returning home to Mississippi, her hand began to swell and she got a fever, chills, and headaches.

We're told she was rushed to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, where she had several surgeries.

"This is not a common occurrence, and for that we are very grateful,” said Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health.  “I think there are about 1,000 cases a year reported in the United States. It’s not common, but when people have it, it's pretty severe."

Dr. Landers says they are working with Mississippi health officials to investigate this case further. It is unclear right now whether the bacteria came from the water directly, or from the shrimp that pricked the woman's hand.

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