Local News

Jun 4, 2013 3:17 PM by Janine Reyes

Dangerous Bacterial Infection Causes Alert in Corpus Christi Area

CORPUS CHRISTI -- A big increase in bacterial infections found in warm salt water has health officials on alert tonight. It's called Vibrio Parahaemolyticus.

You and your family could come in contact with the potentially dangerous bacteria.

Justin Bovee and his son are enjoying a day at the beach, unaware that inside the water, they could come into contact with Vibrio Parahaemolyticus.

"It is along the whole coast of Texas," explained Dr. William Burgin, Jr. With the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District.

The whole coast of texas usually sees 2-7 cases per year.

In Corpus Christi, in just 3 weeks, we've already seen 3 cases and that's a lot.

The bacteria is found in warm salt water that means you can pick it up two ways, either by swimming in infected water with an open wound or by eating the shellfish that swims in that water.

Bovee says he'll be more leery about eating seafood. He's not too worried about swimming in it, because he has a strong immune system. His son doesn't do much swimming. "He doesn't get in the water too much anyway, he only goes about knee deep, then he gets freaked out and goes back to the beach," Bovee said.

Still, dr burgin with the health department cautions that it's young people who have picked up the infection. One from eating infected food, the other two from being in the water.

Having cuts or scrapes will put you at a higher risk.

"You never know, you may go in with no scratches, but out there in the water you step on something and that breaks the skin," Burgin explained.

That's why it's important to stay aware, get out if you get cut and something as simple as wearing water shoes at the beach to help prevent those cuts and scrapes in the water.

If you catch Vibrio Haemolyticus by eating infected fish, symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea and fever.

If you catch it by swimming in infected water, you will develop an abscess that does not respond to normal antibiotics and you'll have to see a doctor immediately.


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