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Old 08-19-2005, 01:39 PM
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Default Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

This is very scary stuff. I have read several reports of these infections in the last year or so. I don't swim in the rivers or lagoons unless absolutely necessary, like if my boat sank.

http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbc...GNEWS/50819002

August 19, 2005

Woman dies of bacteria from St. Johns River

Jacksonville woman, 45, victim of flesh-eating bacteria

ASSOCIATED PRESS

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 45-year-old Jacksonville woman has died from flesh-eating bacteria that she contracted while riding a personal watercraft on the St. Johns River, officials said.

Candace Scott died Aug. 3, Duval County health officials said.

Two or three cases of flesh-eating bacteria are typically reported in the county each year, but deaths are rare, said Tim Lawther, director of chronic disease and prevention for the county's health department.

The bacteria that caused Scott's fatal infection typically enters the body through an open wound and absorbs into the bloodstream, Lawther said.

Scott's brother, Bill, said she had cut her leg the day she was at the river.

Necrotizing fasciitis is a fast-moving form of the Group A strep bacteria that destroys muscles, fat, and skin tissue. It's a rare and invasive form of the same bug that causes strep throat and scarlet fever.

"At this point, we're not telling people to stay out of the water because of this one instance," Lawther said. "However, if you don't heal well and you have an open wound you should stay out of the water because that puts you at a higher risk."

The health department said Scott's infection was not related to blue-green algae appearing in streaks along the river.
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Old 08-19-2005, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

Tha same type problem has been a problem along the Texas coast for several years. I know one person who lost his leg to it and one who almost lost his arm and life.
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Old 08-19-2005, 02:09 PM
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Default Re: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

Don't you guys remember the old movie, "Flesh Eating Muthers"....?????? I'm serious here......
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Old 08-19-2005, 02:18 PM
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Default RE: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

The bacteria in this case is Vibrio vulnificus. Vibrio species are very common in the marine environment but usually do not cause illness in healthy adults. People with impaired immune systems and especially those with liver disease such as cirrhosis are susceptible.

The term "flesh-eating" is a sensationalized term for what are medically called "necrotizing" infections. These infections cause death of tissue along with the other effects of infection and can progress rapidly. These infections are quite rare - in 25 years of medical practice I have personally seen two cases of vibrio vulnificus and a very limited number of other serious necrotizing infections.

Healthy folks have little to worry about.
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Old 08-19-2005, 02:34 PM
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Default Re: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

If you want to worry about something worry about lightening..... much more likely to die from that in Fla than an infection from Vibrio or necrotizing fasciitis which is usually caused by several different bacteria (polymicrobial)

In the last 2 years I've seen 2 cases of vibrio and both related to cleaning fish...... neither life threatening... and a fair number of necrotizing fasciitis but only one in a young healthy person...... a waterman with what started out as a "boil".......

Again...... put it in perspective...... you are much more likely to be killed or maimed in a car accident.... and in Fla...... more young healthy people die from lightening strikes than they do from infections from the water.
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Old 08-19-2005, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

it's the same bug that can get you after eating raw oysters...
as above unless you are immunocompromised it's nothing to lose sleep over
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Old 08-19-2005, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

I thought I had about the same chance of being struck by lightning as I did being bit by a shark and hitting the lottery??

I'm buying lottery tickets tonight!!
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Old 08-19-2005, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

you guys think these infections are so rare better think again! i cut myself while cleaning fish 2 years ago and was infected with a "RARE" infection called mycobacterium marinum which is difficult to diagnose and i could have lost my hand from it! it involved surgery to drain the infection and 10 weeks of IV antibiotics as well as months of therapy and missed work.

you can get serious infections from salt or freshwater especially if you have a open wound! i now use gloves and an antibacterial hand wash (alcohol based) when fishing.

believe me as i was one of the people who always said it will never happen to me!!!
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Old 08-19-2005, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

LOL... I love it when people say (in essence): "Don't worry. You are MUCH more likely to be killed by falling debris than a flesh-eating bacteria!". OK, thanks.

Usually it's sharks and lightning. "You're much more likely to be hit by lightning, or (and this one's ALWAYS in there) killed in a car accident than bitten/eaten by a shark."

OK, so I should never worry about sharks, because afterall, it's a well-known-fact that it's lightning/cars/falling debris that's gonna kill me.


Thing is, something tells me that if I'm swimming at dusk, at say, the Sunshine Skyway bridge in Tampa Bay, with an open (bleeding) wound... that I just might have a better chance of being bitten by a shark than hit by lightning. Of course, I could be wrong.

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Old 08-19-2005, 04:32 PM
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Default RE: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

There was a NewBedford Ma. fisherman that hooked or cut himself fishing last year that died from this. After reading the story in the newspaper I make sure I have up to date disenfectante and anti bacterial cream in my medical kit. Belive me if I cut myself fishing I would tend to it pronto!
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Old 08-19-2005, 04:43 PM
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Default Re: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

Keep a fresh bottle of hyrdogren peroxide, a bottle or swabs of Betadine and tripple antibiotic ointment on the boat. If you get a cut, immediately clean it with the H2O2/Betadine, flushing out the wound well. Coat with the tripple antibiotic and bandage.

If the wound is not healing in a couple of days--or rapidly getting worse, see a physician who has expertise in marine medicine.

There are other bacteria which can survive in salt water including some resistant strains of Staph Aureous, Strep Fecalis and E. Coli. Most of these will be in warm water near the coast.

Mycobacterium marinum is similar to tuberculosis and can infect the skin as well as deeper tissue. The lab culture time for this infection is very slow, and must be on appropiate culture media, so it can be easily missed.

We have also seen some atypical pneumonia cases in divers who clean the bottoms of boats.

Don't worry about these medical issues, just be prepared and aware.
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Old 08-19-2005, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

it took a month for the mycobacterium to start affecting my finger after the inital wound was completely healed and almost forgotten about! i have read that alcohol (not beer) works best for killing this type of bacteria which is hard to kill.
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Old 08-20-2005, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

IMO - these types of infections and bacteria are becoming more prevalent in the waters today and the best course of action is to be PRO-active.

I agree with thataway - keep hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, antibacterial cleanser, betadine, triple antibiotic ointment and bandages onboard. Flush out any type of wound encountered on the boat ASAP and then keep an eye on it for the next several days.

Better to be safe than sorry~!
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Old 08-20-2005, 07:30 AM
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Default Re: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

I made a point of reading up on vibrio infections since I'm on the water for a living. The one common thread with these infections is how rapidly they spread... Any sign of infection that might be water related should send you to the docs. Waiting even one day might be too long from what I've read. Articles in Tide magazine and others also made a point of the problem that most emergency wards will not have seen a vibrio infection before so you're well advised to alert the attending medics to look for it... Most of the cases that I've read about were along the Gulf coast during warm weather.
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Old 08-20-2005, 05:11 PM
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Default Re: Flesh Eating Bacteria from St Johns River Kills Woman in Florida

i was just hoping to die of old age....now this!
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