Saltwater bacteria killed 2 in Florida, officials say

Vibrio vulnificus claims lives of Florida resident, tourist

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Bacteria that lives in saltwater infected seven people in southwest Florida, including two who later died.

Lee County health officials say a Florida resident in his 50s died last month after going into the Gulf of Mexico with an open wound. A tourist who was over 60 years old died in July, also from Vibrio vulnificus.

Health department director Dr. Judith Hartner told the News-Press of Fort Myers that Lee County typically sees about five cases of the bacteria a year. She says most cases are not serious.

Five others were infected with less-dangerous Vibrio varieties.

An 84-year-old woman had her leg amputated at a Naples hospital after becoming infected with the bacteria. But officials say it's unclear whether she became infected in southwest Florida or the Tampa area.

In September, a Central Florida man died after being infected by the bacteria.

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