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Baldwin County woman treated for possible Vibrio case

FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) -

The Baldwin County Public Health Department has confirmed they are working two cases of Vibrio Vulnificus this year. One of those cases began Wednesday.

Brittany Hallman of Robertsdale is being treated for the flesh-eating bacteria.  She is out of the hospital and doing well but is warning everybody about the dangers that are in the water.

"If I didn't act fast, I could have very easily lost my foot."  A family outing at Fairhope Municipal Beach and a quick dash by a two-year-old to the water.  "I was chasing after him and he touched the water but I was more in the water on my left side and I have a small cut on the back of my foot from a couple of weeks ago," says the mother of five, Brittany Hallman. That's how it started for Hallman who didn't think anything of it until the next morning with one look at her foot.

"My foot was extremely swollen, double the size that it should be.  It was inflamed red and was burning. It felt like a sunburn but ten times worse."

A three day stay in the hospital would follow. She is being treated for Vibrio Vulnificus the flesh-eating bacteria that thrive in brackish water.  "This is a mid-port and that is how I was getting my antibiotics.  It is staying in until I see the infectious disease doctor Friday just in case I have to be put on stronger antibiotics."

She will find out Friday if indeed she did contract vibrio. In the meantime, she says everyone needs to be aware, it's out there.  "I have small children and it could have very easily happened to them and just based on what I went through it was terrifying."

The exact name of the bacteria is Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which is different from Vibrio vulnificus.

Vibrio usually shows up in the summer months. It's a bacteria that is naturally occurring in warmer water. Those exposed to it will see symptoms within 24-72 hours. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, blisters around the wounded areas, swelling, and redness. 

In extreme cases, the affected area needed to be amputated. We have also seen deaths occur from Vibrio.

Experts warn everyone to be on high alert if they plan to get in the water this summer and make sure that all shellfish and oysters are cooked properly.

 

 


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