(CBSNEWS) — A rare, potentially deadly bacteria that lives in warm seawater has infected seven people and killed two so far this year in Florida, according to state health officials.
"People can get infected with Vibrio vulnificus when they eat raw shellfish," Florida Health Department spokeswoman Mara Burger said in a statement. "Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater."
Advertisement - story continues below
When the bacterium is eaten in contaminated food, symptoms of the disease include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. When Vibrio vulnificus enters the body through an open wound, it can cause infections that may lead to skin breakdown and ulcers -- the notorious "flesh-eating" symptoms.