The Florida Department of Health in Bay County recently isued a statement regarding Necrotizing fasciitis, sometimes known as flesh-eating bacteria.
"Beaches are open and they are safe for visitors, but use caution when entering an open body of water. If you have breaks in the skin such as cuts or sores, avoid getting in the water. If you are immunocompromised, wear shoes or foot protection to avoid getting cut by shells or rocks on the beach or in the water," said the department on their website.
The comments come after visitors have claimed their loved ones contracted the disease from beaches in Northwest Florida.
A 66-year-old man from Memphis, Tennessee died on July 7 from the disease after vacationing in Okaloosa County in Rocky Bayou for the Fourth of July. He had a weak immune system from battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia for 18 years. He also swam at Crab Island and in Boggy Bayou while in town from Memphis, Tennessee, according to Bennett's daughter.
In late June a woman posted on Facebook claiming her daughter had contracted the disease while vacationing in Destin.
The Florida Department of Health said in a statement that there are “no public health concerns” in Walton or Okaloosa County in response to the mother's claim.
A 77-year-old Ellenton woman also died from the disease this summer after a visit to a south Florida beach.
More information provided by the Florida Department of Health in Bay County:
Necrotizing fasciitis (many times called “flesh eating bacteria” by the media) is caused by more than one type of bacteria. Several bacteria, common in our environment can cause this condition –the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis is Group A strep. People do not “catch” necrotizing fasciitis; it is a complication or symptom of a bacterialinfection that has not been promptly or properly treated.Sometimes people call Vibrio vulnificus the “flesh eating bacteria.” Vibrio vulnificus is a naturally occurring bacteria found in warm salty waters such as the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding bays. Concentrations of this bacteria are higher when the water is warmer. Necrotizing fasciitis and severe infections with Vibrio vulnificus are rare. These infections can be treated with antibiotics and sometimes require surgery to remove damaged tissue.Rapid diagnosis is the key to effective treatment and recovery. If you are healthy with a strong immune system, your chances of developing or having complications due to this condition are extremely low.