In the hot summertime waters of the Southern U.S. a danger lurks in the form of a bacteria that is in both fresh and salt water, the vibrio vulnificus is popularly known to most as the “flesh eating bacteria”. Here are some tips on how to minimize your exposure risks…Vibrio vulnificus occurrences are rare, but can occur in the warm waters of summer especially in the South. Those of us who love to wade fish and are constantly wet from our sport are particularly at risk. People die every year from this infection and if you take a moment to look at the hideous photos on the internet, you will realize just how bad it is.
If you have open wounds, cuts, or blisters on your skin that comes into contact with the vibrio vulnificus bacteria floating in the water, infection can occur almost immediately. How many times have we been finned by a fish and bled a little while handling a large catfish without really thinking of the dangers of infection? The CDC recommends that you carry some type of anti-bacterial cleanser with you to immediately spray any open wound. A small spray bottle of clean water and bleach mixed to a ratio of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach will be a good thing to keep in your boat or fishing vest. There are several commercial products on the market that also have the anti-bacterial properties, but the bleach water solution is very effective also.
If you experience any symptoms of a vibrio vulnificus infection such as swelling, itching, redness from the infection site please see a doctor immediately. Time after exposure is critical in the treatment process. More details of the bacteria can be found on the wiki page here. Please keep your cuts and wounds disinfected and clean as possible. The consequences are too important to ignore!