A Florida resident has died after contracting “flesh-eating bacteria,” officials confirmed Tuesday.
The unidentified patient was middle-aged and had chronic health problems, a Florida Department of Health spokesperson told MyFoxTampaBay.com.
The victim contracted the bacteria after saltwater entered an open wound, the spokesperson said. It is not clear when the incident occurred, and officials did not release what body of water the patient contracted the bacteria in.
The bacteria, called vibrio vulnificus, is potentially fatal for victims with chronic health conditions.
“For someone who is immune-compromised, or has chronic liver disease, it could be a life-threatening situation. And it’s as simple as going in the water with open cuts or wounds to your skin,” Steve Huard, a spokesperson for the Hillborough County Health Department told MyFoxTampaBay.com.
Florida officials released a warning for swimmers and consumers of raw oysters amid concerns about the bacteria thriving in warmer water during the summer, the news station reported.
According to Florida Health Department officials, 41 people contracted the bacteria in 2013, resulting in 11 deaths. Officials have recorded 11 cases in 2014, with 3 fatalities.