4 things you need to know about Florida's flesh-eating bacteria
How to protect your family from flesh-eating Bacteria
"Since 2010, approximately 700 to 1,200 cases occur each year in the United States," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the CDC, which has been tracking the infections, says those numbers are likely underestimated.
Officials with the Florida Department of Health said in an email to News 6 that necrotizing fasciitis, also known as the umbrella term of "flesh-eating bacteria" is caused by more than one type of bacteria.
Several bacteria common in Florida's water bodies can cause this condition.
Vibrio vulnificus is a subset of flesh-eating bacteria that is naturally occurring in warm, salty waters such as the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding bays.
This kind of bacteria is seen in higher numbers when the water becomes warm, like it does every summer in Florida.
"Waters are getting warmer, and the bacteria love warmer water, so we're all at higher risk," CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus said.
The following four safety tips can help reduce the risk of exposure to the dangerous bacteria.
Symptoms of an infection include redness, swelling, fever, severe pain in the area or red or swollen skin near or around a wound.
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