HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - An official with the Mississippi State Department of Health just confirmed a Hancock County resident is being treated for Vibrio vulnificus. This is the first confirmed case of the bacteria in Mississippi this year.
It is unclear where, when and how the bacteria was contracted, according to the health department.
The Vibrio bacteria is always present in the Gulf waters, and thrives during the warmest months of the year. The organisms generally enter a person's body through open wounds, but you can also contract it by inhaling water or eating raw oysters. Most cases are from people with cuts or open wounds, so those people should avoid the water. Those with a compromised immune system are also at a higher risk of serious complications.
Monday, we told you about a Louisiana man who is battling a bacterial infection he may have picked up from the water near Bay St. Louis.
Dick Empson's right leg was amputated last week, according to family members, but the health department has not confirmed this as a Vibrio case.
Tuesday, Empson's family members said he was doing much better. They called his recovery "a miracle."
Medical professionals stress that if you start feeling bad and are running a fever shortly after exposure to saltwater, get to a doctor or the emergency room immediately. Symptoms, like chills, fever, sores, blisters or swelling usually appear in the first 24 hours after contact. Treatment includes receiving heavy doses of antibiotics and fluids.
You can keep up with all water contact advisories and beach closers in South Mississippi by taking a look at this interactive map from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality: Mississippi Beach Monitoring Program.