The CDC Has Released A Nationwide Health Alert Concerning Coastal Waters

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing a nationwide health alert for a flesh-eating bacteria that could be lurking in the coastal waters of Washington State.

By CDC/James Gathany (PHIL #7815) - Obtained from the CDC Public Health Image Library, Public Domain,
By CDC/James Gathany (PHIL #7815) - Obtained from the CDC Public Health Image Library, Public Domain,

Deadly Virus Has Been Located Off Coastal, CDC Issues Nationwide Warning

According to the CDC, Vibrio vulnificus infections in the United States are associated with warming coastal waters causing an estimated 80,000 illnesses each year.

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Here are details of the virus from the CDC:

Vibrio vulnificus is most commonly reported by Gulf Coast states. However, V. vulnificus infections in the Eastern United States increased eightfold from 1988–2018, and the northern geographic range of infections has increased 48 km per year.

During July–August 2023, the United States has experienced above-average coastal sea surface temperatures and widespread heat waves. During the same period, several East Coast states, including ConnecticutNew York, and North Carolina.


Many of these infections were acquired after an open wound was exposed to coastal waters in those states. Some of these infections were associated with consumption of raw or undercooked seafood or had unclear etiology.

No reports of Vibrio vulnificus has been reported in Washington, Oregon, or California along the coast as of yet but better than safe than sorry. I've enclosed a few steps to keep you safe from Vibrio vulnificus according to the CDC:

  • Stay out of salt water and brackish water if you have an open wound or cut. If you get a cut while you are in the water, leave the water immediately.
    • If your open wounds and cuts could come in contact with salt water, brackish water, or raw or undercooked seafood, cover them completely with a waterproof bandage.
    • Wash open wounds and cuts thoroughly with soap and clean, running water after they come in contact with salt water, brackish water, or drippings from raw or undercooked seafood.
  • Cook raw oysters and other shellfish before eating.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water after handling raw shellfish.
  • Seek medical attention right away for infected wounds.

You can read more details and the official release from the CDC here.

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