According to an article in FLORIDA TODAY, Florida health officials said now is the time to be careful swimming in the Indian River Lagoon. Running Zone Foundation hosts an unguarded open water swim at the Eau Gallie Library Pier every Wednesday at 6pm during season. The precautions are listed below from the excerpt of FLORIDA TODAY’s article. Please think about this before you swim in the river.
Florida Today Excerpt: “Vibrio vulnificus belongs to the same family of bacteria as those that cause cholera. It inhabits warm, salty water and is part of a group of bacteria called “halophilic” because they require salt. It dies at salt levels typical in the ocean but thrives at lower to moderate salt concentrations, such as those found in the lagoon.
Now is the most dangerous time of year for the bacteria. Vibrio infections tend to occur between May and October, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Warm water and moderate salinity can increase the amount of Vibrio in shellfish.
While infections are rare, individuals should still take precautions, health officials said.
Infections in people with liver or immune system conditions have a 50 percent fatality rate.
When it infects the skin via open wounds, Vibrio releases a toxin that can cause skin breakdown and ulcers.
Ingestion of the bacteria can trigger vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
People with weakened immune systems, especially those with chronic liver disease, are the most at risk when they eat raw shellfish, especially oysters, health officials said, because oysters filter the bacteria from the water. Eating a single contaminated oyster can kill.”