Fla. health officials warn about flesh-eating bacteria in the water

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- Florida health officials are warning beachgoers about a dangerous flesh-eating bacteria.

Officials say anyone with an open cut needs to stay out of the water.

Experts say this bacteria, called vibrio vulnificus, thrives in warm water and can be contracted off Florida's coast or by eating shellfish carrying it such as oysters.

Florida Today reports the bacteria loves warm, salty water, making the sunshine state a thriving location.

Vibrio vulnificus is a rare flesh-eating bacteria, said the Florida Department of Health. It's found naturally occurring in warm, brackish seawater and it's one people with weaker immune systems should avoid at all costs.

Health officials say 2011 was the worst recent year for the bacteria in the Sunshine State with 35 confirmed cases and 13 deaths, and 41 confirmed cases and 11 deaths in 2013.

According to reports, a middle-aged person with chronic health problems died from it Tuesday in Sarasota County.

In 2014, there have been at least 11 confirmed cases of the flesh-eating bacteria and 3 deaths according to reports.

Health officials call this a deep-seated infection that causes the soft tissue in your body to die. The flesh-eating bug kills nearly 50% of the people who contract it and is especially dangerous for anyone with immune system issues. If you think you've contracted it, seek medical help immediately.

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Vibrio vulnificus

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