Vibrio vulnificus is a bacteria that lives on microscopic animals called copepods. Copepods feed on algae in the Bay. Most infections happen in the warm-water months between May and October. In recent years, cases peaked between July and August.
Maryland data indicates about one-third of the last five years’ cases came from water contact. In 2019, there were 95 cases of vibrio in Maryland.
Here is a map which provides some visualization.
Here is some basic guidance:
- Avoid water contact if you have any skin wounds.
- If water contact cannot be avoided, cover wounds with waterproof bandages.
- Wear water shoes to avoid cuts and scrapes.
- Wear gloves or use extra care when handling crab pots or other equipment.
- If you get a cut or a scrape, clean it immediately with soap and clean water after contact. If soap and clean water are not available, clean the wound with hand sanitizer then wash as soon as possible.
- Always shower after swimming in natural waters and wash hands before handling food or eating.
And if you do get a wound with unusual redness, swelling, or drainage, seek medical attention immediately and tell your doctor if you’ve recently come in contact with brackish or salt water.