HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut health officials are warning of a rise in infections stemming from the exposure to bacteria in Long Island Sound.
Four patients in August and one in July were diagnosed with relatively rare Vibrio vulnificus infections, according to the state Department of Public Health.
Those infections can lead to a serious illness that could result in hospitalization or limb amputation, the department said.
“The identification of these five cases over two months is very concerning,” said Dr. Matthew Cartter, the state epidemiologist for the Health Department. “This suggests the Vibrio bacteria may be present in salt or brackish water in or near Long Island Sound, and people should take precautions.”
Just seven such infections were reported in Connecticut between 2010 and 2019.
The cases reported this summer came in adults ages 49 and 85 years old from Fairfield, Middlesex, and New Haven counties.
All of the cases involved people who had pre-existing wounds or sustained a wound and were then exposed to salt or brackish water while boating, swimming, or crabbing the department said.
You can reduce your chance of getting a Vibrio wound infection by following these tips:
- If you have a wound (including from a recent surgery, piercing, or tattoo), stay out of saltwater or brackish water, if possible. This includes wading at the beach.
- Cover your wound with a waterproof bandage if it could come into contact with saltwater, brackish water, or raw or undercooked seafood and its juices. This contact can happen during everyday activities, such as swimming, fishing, or walking on the beach.
- Wash wounds and cuts thoroughly with soap and water after they have contact with saltwater, brackish water, raw seafood, or its juices.
For more information on V. vulnificus infections, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/wounds.html