Flesh-eating bacteria has been found in bodies of water throughout Alabama and cases of the disease have been reported along the state’s Gulf Coast, health officials warn.

They said Vibrio can be contracted in brackish or salt water, and can also affect people who eat contaminated seafood and those with open wounds exposed to seawater, CBS News reported.

The warning is meant to educate “the general public about wounds and water, safe swimming, and safe consumption of seafood,” according to Dr. Karen Landers, assistant state health officer, Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

“At this time of year, the ADPH receives increased calls regarding skininfections related to wounds and water as well as the occasional, rare instance of necrotizing fasciitis [flesh-eating bacteria],” she told CBS News“Sometimes, people contract Vibrio in the coastal region and do not become ill until they return to their county or state of residence.”

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SOURCE: WebMD News from HealthDay

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