Be careful beach-goers in the UAE! Flesh eating bacteria could wash ashore, doctors say
UAE beach-goers need to be careful of different kinds of bacteria that are found in warm salt water bodies around the world, especially during the summer months, say doctors in Dubai.
A day at the beach can do wonders for your health, but if sunbathers have scratches or small lacerations on their skin, they may be inviting harmful bacteria into their system that could be extremely harmful.
A flesh-eating bacteria that killed three people and caused the hospitalisation of 13 off the coast of Florida in late July, has caused doctors to raise the alarm here as well.
Dr Akbar Ali Pallikkalakath, Specialist Dermatologist at the Canadian Specialist Hospital, explained in details the magnitude of the harm this and other bacteria can cause.
“The bacteria that caused flesh-eating skin ulcers in the U.S. is called Vibrio Vulnificus which can infect an open skin wound and can eat the flesh, causing serious skin infections like cellulitis and gangrene. The bacteria can even spread into the bloodstream in immune-compromised individuals and can cause septicaemia and even death.
“The incidents of this bacterial infection are mainly reported from the Gulf coast of the United States starting from Florida to Texas. The bacteria mainly inhabit warm salt water and oyster shells. They multiply rapidly in hot summer weather. Therefore, the infections are more common from the month of April to October. It is very common in people who visit the beach often and in people who eat raw and uncooked oysters. The patients usually come into the clinic with a non-healing ulcer in the feet, or with fever, skin blisters and abdominal pain,” he explained.
Even though this is not a common infection in the Middle Eastern coastal areas, health specialists advise beachgoers to take precautions while stepping into the sea. Any kind of sun protection that works underwater is also advised.
By Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary