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Five people infected with carnivorous bacteria from Long Island Sound

Connecticut health officials are warning residents after a series of infections caused by a carnivorous bacterium found in Long Island Sound.

Five patients in the state have been diagnosed with a rare infection, called Vibrio vulnificus, which can result in intensive care, limb amputation, and necrotizing fasciitis – also known as carnivorous bacteria – according to the Connecticut Department of Health.

“The identification of these five cases within two months is very concerning,” said Dr. Matthew Cartter, the state epidemiologist with the Department of Health. “This suggests that Vibrio bacteria may be present in salt or brackish water in or near Long Island Sound, and people should take precautions.”


Health officials reported a new case in July and four new cases in August, all in adults between the ages of 49 and 85. By comparison, Connecticut reported a total of just seven total cases between 2010 and 2019.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Vibrio is the same genus of bacteria that most commonly causes raw or undercooked shellfish infections.

The much rarer Vibrio vulnificus bacteria can cause life-threatening disease if an open wound is exposed to infected crustaceans or the brackish water they live in.

The CDC warns anyone with recent injuries, including those from recent surgeries, piercings, or tattoos, to stay out of the saltwater.

They also recommend covering any wounds with waterproof bandages if there is a possibility that it may be exposed to sea water and washing the area thoroughly with soap and water if it does.

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