31 in Fla. infected by bacteria in saltwater

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Associated Press

Posted on October 11, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 11 at 10:07 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — State health department officials say 31 people across Florida have been infected this year by a potentially deadly, yet common bacteria that lives in saltwater — and 10 of those people have died.

But experts say the vast majority of people aren't at risk of contracting vibrio vulnificus (vih-BREE'-oh VUHL'-nihf-ih-kus), which lives in warm saltwater.

Vibrio is contracted one of two ways: by eating tainted shellfish or when an open wound comes in contact with bacteria in warm seawater.

Dr. James Oliver, a Vibrio expert and a University of North Carolina professor, says most of the people who die from the disease have compromised immune systems.

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