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The Vibrio threat in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma

The Vibrio threat in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the ecologies of affected areas have also experienced a strong blow. The treated and untreated water has gotten mixed in around 22 counties across the state of Florida. One common threat is the bacteria coming from feces. These, if ingested by any means, can make the individual/population very sick. But as long as people boil their water and maintain the cleanliness prescribed by the authorities there isn’t much to worry about. However, According to  Rachel Noble, a professor of marine biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, there is a much deeper threat underlying. This is Vibrio!


Sewage water in the Collier St, Englewood, Florida



Vibrio is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria. These microbes are facultative anaerobes and are highly mobile due to the flagella they possess. They can well flourish in salty water and most of its species are pathogenic. Unlike the fecal bacteria, Vibrio can infect anyone with an open wound. In the wake of hurricane Katrina in 2005, about five people died and 22 lost limbs as a result of Vibrio infections.


With floodwater everywhere, there is good chance that Vibrio may spread through the farms, fields, and wildlife both on land and in water.


Vibrio infection appears as red infection wounds with cellulitis and if untreated it might spread enough that surgical amputation remains the only option for treatment.


Vaccination and proper hygiene are good ways to ensure safety. It is important that people who are having a wound of any sort keep extra vigilant and take extra care.



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