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Connecticut Sea Kayakers Bulletin Board

Wash those wounds

Dangerous bacteria found near shoreline

By Nicholas Rondinone Hartford Courant
The state Department of Public Health issued a warning Saturday for bacteria in the salt and brackish water along the shoreline of the Long Island Sound after a recent uptick in infections.
DPH said five cases of rare, deadly vibrio vulnificus infections have been reported in recent months. Those sickened include residents in Fairfield, Middlesex and New Haven counties, according to officials.
All five of those people who contracted infections, four men and one woman, reported exposure to salt or brackish water through activities, including boating, crabbing and swimming, DPH said. No deaths were reported.
Two suffered infections of the blood, while the other three had serious wound infections, health officials said.
“The identification of these five cases over two months is very concerning,” said Dr. Matthew Cartter, state epidemiologist, in a statement. “This suggests the vibrio bacteria may be present in salt or brackish water in or near Long Island Sound, and people should take precautions.”
All the infections occurred in people with existing wounds or those who had suffered cuts during the activities in the water.
Health officials said vibrio vulnificus infections are rare and the state has only seen seven total in the previous nine years. The infections carry the potential for serious illness, and those who suffer from it could require intensive care or limb amputation, officials warned.
DPH said people with wounds should avoid salt or brackish water if possible, or use a waterproof bandage. They suggest washing cuts or wounds thoroughly if they come in contact with salt or brackish water.
Nicholas Rondinone can be reached at nrondinone@courant.com.

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