Aggressive bacteria found in Chesapeake Bay hospitalizes woman

Posted at 10:46 PM, Aug 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-06 23:23:16-04

A Maryland woman was hospitalized from just a small cut and a little bit of water from the Chesapeake Bay.

Elisavietta Ritchie has spent the last month recovering from Vibrio vulnificus, an aggressive bacteria found in the bay and its tributaries.

It got into her system after she got a cut on her foot while climbing up a ladder following a kayak trip in the Patuxent River.

“Some wee beastie got in there, and to be attacked by this little thing,” Ritchie said.

Health officials say Ritchie was lucky. “Once the symptoms begin it can spread very quickly and become very dangerous in a short period of time.”

vibrioHer husband insisted she go to the emergency room after her leg began to swell. One month later, she’s still recovering but says she is also very much in love with the water.

The Bay region has reported five Vibrio cases this summer. Warmer weather typically increases the danger of infection from the bacteria.

The Vibrio bacteria can be found year round in the water.

Individual’s over the age of 60, or anyone with a weakened immune system are particularly vulnerable and should take precautions.

Health officials say to avoid the water if you have a fresh cut. Open wounds should be sealed.

Also, officials advise to cook all shellfish from the local waters to avoid possible exposure.

Read more on the Bay Net.