NEW ORLEANS -- The cool Gulf of Mexico waters are very inviting, especially during these dog days of summer, the hottest time of the year.
But according to Louisiana health officials, a dangerous type of bacteria may be lurking in the water called vibrio vulnificus.
'We've all heard of that flesh-eating bacteria that could be out there,' said Dr. Takeisha Davis, the Louisiana chief medical officer. 'It really does cause issues for those who have a weakened immune system or who might have problems with their liver or their kidneys.'
There have been eight cases of vibrio in Louisiana so far this year. Fishermen are also warned not to put their hands in the water if they have cuts or scratches on them.
'It's not going to stop me from fishing,' said fisherman Gary Sneed. 'I don't know how you can get it or nothing like that.'
Your chances of coming into contact with the vibrio bacteria is relatively low right now. According to the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, the water quality is a lot fresher than normal, which means the vibrio count is lower than if the water was more brackish.
Health officials are also encouraging travelers heading to the Caribbean to fight the bite. Mosquitoes there may transmit the chikungunya virus.
The symptoms can include headaches, joint pain or rashes.
'The chikungunya virus has caused over 580 cases of viral illness,' Davis said.
Warning posters are hanging throughout the cruise terminal in New Orleans.
'I'm glad I know about it. I didn't realize there was a problem,' said fisherman Edward Guillbeaux. 'So, now I'm actually going to spray more just to be safe. Better be safe than sorry.'