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Nasty FL water

Discussion in 'Florida' started by DennisS, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. DennisS

    DennisS Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sebastian, FL
    This is the first I've heard of this. I've been aware of the dangers of freshwater during the summer months but thought saltwater was safe. Once this guy got the warm saltwater in a cut, it didn't take long. One article said they loaded him up with every kind of antibiotic and it did no good.26 cases of Vibrio vulnificus reported across state | wtsp.com
  2. cudachaser

    cudachaser Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Cocoa Beach, FL
    Last week, I spent 1 1/2 hours under my son's sail boat in the Indian River searching the bottom for his wallet
  3. iluvtheocean

    iluvtheocean Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Hollywood, FL
    a different report i read attributed 9 deaths so far to it... looking for the link..both the link Dennis & i found both say 9 deaths so far.

    Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that normally lives in warm seawater and is in the same family as cholera. Officials are warning both beachgoers and individuals who handle raw shellfish.
    Beachgoers with open wounds or broken skin should avoid swimming in warm salt water. Additionally, officials said people should wear gloves and wash their hands after handling raw shellfish.
  4. letterboy

    letterboy Eww poors ScubaBoard Supporter

    I knew salt water was dangerous...

    Thanks for the links guys. Will look into this.

    Is there a range along the coast or is it in all warm saltwater?
  5. RickI

    RickI Manta Ray

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: SE Florida
    This came up on another forum, this is what I found out about it. This goes beyond Florida, see below. If you are in warm seawater, seems like something to be both aware of and concerned about. Particularly if you go in with cuts, open wounds duct taped over, etc.. It seems to infect through cuts, open wounds and through consumption of raw/under cooked seafood like oysters. "State health officials say at least nine people have died so far this year in Florida " "CDC received reports of more than 900 V. vulnificus infections from the Gulf Coast states, where most cases occur."

    "What type of illness does V. vulnificus cause?

    V. vulnificus can cause disease in those who eat contaminated seafood or have an open wound that is exposed to seawater. Among healthy people, ingestion of V. vulnificus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In immunocompromised persons, particularly those with chronic liver disease, V. vulnificus can infect the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness characterized by fever and chills, decreased blood pressure (septic shock), and blistering skin lesions. V. vulnificus bloodstream infections are fatal about 50% of the time.

    V. vulnificus can cause an infection of the skin when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater; these infections may lead to skin breakdown and ulceration. Persons who are immunocompromised are at higher risk for invasion of the organism into the bloodstream and potentially fatal complications."
    CDC - Vibrio vulnificus: General Information - NCZVED

    They say activity may be depressed below 20 C or about 68 F. That is chilly in my book. At what temperature it really becomes a problem is a more complicated question unfortunately. Salinity is also tied into the events. The bacteria prefers low salinity water. It looks like the majority of infections have followed ingestion of seafood and about 25% through exposure of open wounds to seawater.


    An average of 50 culture-confirmed cases, 45 hospitalizations, and 16 deaths are reported each year from the Gulf Coast region (reporting states are Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas). Nationwide, there are as many as 95 cases (half of which are culture confirmed), 85 hospitalizations, and 35 deaths."
    CDC - Vibrio vulnificus, Technical Information - NCZVED


    "Persons with open wounds:
    Avoid contact between open wounds and seawater, especially if water temperature is more than 68°F (20°C), or raw seafood
    Wash any wound that is exposed to seawater with soap and clean water
    Immediately seek medical care for any wound that appears infected"
    Vibrio vulnificus Infection: Diagnosis and Treatment - American Family Physician
    letterboy likes this.
  6. bvarn1

    bvarn1 Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida
    This must be pretty rare. Tens of thousands of people are in the water at Florida beaches every day, for the last. few decades.
  7. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    So I'm confused. Obviously such infections are not new but is the incidence rate up in Florida or has it just made news?

    If the rate is up, is it related to the recent water dump from Lake Okeechobee?

    And lastly, are they still releasing water?
  8. Steve_C

    Steve_C Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh, NC USA
    Low Salinity would put it in bays and near inlets I would think.
  9. Splash-X

    Splash-X Dive Con

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Palm Harbor, FL
    I remember reading a story earlier this year about an elderly lady who went out on a pontoon boat with friends/family and had scraped her foot on a barnacle at a sand bar or something and despite immediate flushing of the wound wound up in the hospital less than 24 hours later. The infection swept through her body and there wasn't anything they could do to save her.
  10. Randy g

    Randy g Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Virginia Beach, Va
    WOW I had no idea about this. I have dove with open cuts before but I promise you, I will not do it again.

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