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Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 7:00 PM
The Florida Department of Health has a warning for Florida residents and tourists about a deadly strain of flesh-eating bacteria.
Federal health officials have said Vibrio vulnificus infections have increased each year since 2000.
As scary as that sounds, though, the likelihood of contracting the bacterium is still pretty small.
“You are more likely to die in a car accident on the way to (a) restaurant than from Vibrio,” says University of Florida microbiology professor Paul Gulig.
Here are five things to know about flesh-eating bacteria in Florida:
1. It’s the fish, not the water – Most people who die from the bacteria contracted it from eating raw or under-cooked seafood, especially shellfish, like oysters, rather than from swimming in the Gulf. Swimming in salt water with an open wound increases your chances of getting it, but that shouldn’t keep the vast majority of people from getting in the water.
2. Now is the time to be vigilant – Peak season for Vibrio is during the warmer months, between May and October. The warm weather breeds the bacteria, and people are more likely to be swimming in the water and consuming seafood while on vacation or enjoying the scenery.
3. It’s extremely rare, and extremely deadly – According to the CDC, in 2014 there were about 90 total infections of Vibrio in the U.S., including 35 deaths. By comparison, the flu kills between 3,300 and 49,000 people every year. That being said, the bacteria is life-threatening. Vibrio kills one in three people who become infected.
4. It’s not really flesh-eating, it just looks that way – The only bacteria that are officially classified as “flesh eating” belong to the streptococcus A family. Vibrio is called “flesh eating” because it invades the blood stream and causes skin lesions that are similar to streptoccus A.
5. Your risk is pretty low, even if you’re sick – Most people who are truly vulnerable to Vibrio already have a weakened immune system, and suffer from other ailments, like chronic liver disease. There is no evidence of person-to-person transmission. Just to be safe, though, health officials say you should clean any open wounds after you’ve gone swimming in the ocean.
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 4:51 AM
— A Texas couple is formally engaged after the bride-to-be’s engagement ring was lost in a luggage snafu for nearly three weeks, WFAA reported.
Ben Adams and his girlfriend Elizabeth Kahle landed at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport two-and-a-half weeks ago after a trip to Europe.
Adams hoped to propose to Kahle at her family’s home in Frisco, Texas. But the engagement ring was in one of his suitcases, and during a layover in Iceland all of their luggage was misplaced, WFAA reported.
The luggage was on Iceland-based WOW Airlines. When their flight to Dallas was canceled, Adams and Kahle were rerouted to New York and then Atlanta before finally reaching their destination.
Adams had to confess to Kahle that the engagement ring was in his luggage, WFAA reported.
“The stakes just went from here to here!” Kahle told the television station.
Adams eventually discovered that their luggage was sent to Boston. The bags were shipped home, and Adams made his formal marriage proposal Wednesday night, WFAA reported.
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 11:10 PM
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 3:01 AM
PITTSBURGH — Hundreds of marchers took to the streets of Pittsburgh Thursday night, protesting the fatal police shooting of a teenager during a traffic stop Tuesday night.
Traffic was brought to a standstill as protesters spilled onto Pittsburgh’s Parkway East.
The protest was described by WPXI reporters on the scene as “tense,” but “peaceful so far.”
Marchers, holding signs and cell phones, sat down in the street, blocking traffic and causing a back up for miles.
Protesters were told to voluntarily disperse by 1 a.m. Friday. Pennsylvania State Police were able to clear all protesters by 2:45 a.m. At least one woman was arrested.
Residents were angry and upset over the fatal police shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Antwon Rose.
Allegheny County police officials said that Rose was a passenger in a vehicle stopped in East Pittsburgh around 8:20 p.m. Tuesday because it fit the description of a car seen fleeing the area of a shooting in the nearby borough of North Braddock. As an officer handcuffed the driver of the car, which investigators said had bullet damage to the back window, Rose and a second passenger got out of the car and ran.
Footage of the shooting posted on Facebook Tuesday shows the scene from a distance. The 18-second video shows Rose and the other passenger, who has not been found by police, get out of the car and make a break for the yard between two nearby houses.
Three shots are heard and one of the passengers appears to fall into the grass.
Rose, who police officials said was struck three times, was taken to McKeesport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The Allegheny County medical examiner on Thursday ruled the teen’s death a homicide.
The East Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed Rose was sworn in just hours before the fatal encounter.
Mayor Louis Payne told WPXI Wednesday that the unidentified officer who killed Rose previously spent seven years working in other departments, but confirmed that he was working his first shift following his official swearing in with the East Pittsburgh Police Department.
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 8:59 AM
RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. — Time to get a new car!
A woman said she was driving when she felt something on her leg. And it wasn’t her imagination. The unidentified woman saw a six-foot-long snake slithering up her leg, WSPA reported.
A pest removal service in Rutherford County said that a customer of theirs had a box in her car that she was taking to the dump. The box had been sitting outside and the snake had crawled in. The Bug Man reminded people in its Facebook post about the incident, to always check boxes and planters before moving them. Snakes and other critters can make containers their home.
She called police for help and they got the serpent out of her vehicle using snake tongs, WSPA reported.
The stowaway’s story doesn’t end there. The snake actually got out of its container while police were relocating it, but eventually got out of the police car and made its way into a creek, WSPA reported.
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 10:43 PM
BETHEL PARK, Pa. — A Pennsylvania teenager admits he’s lucky to be alive after getting sucked into a drainage pipe underneath a road south of Pittsburgh.
Ben Smith was helping clear debris from outside of neighbors’ houses during massive flooding Wednesday night.
"There was a quick moment when I thought I wouldn't get out. It felt like I was going down," Smith said. "We were trying to move a van away from it and clear some debris. I went to go after this wood panel and my foot slipped and I just went right under."
Neighbors tried to pull him out, but the floodwater was too strong and Smith was washed away.
He said his instincts and Eagle Scout training kicked in.
"It teaches you to be prepared for any sort of circumstance that comes your way," Smith said. "I knew going against the water would not work at all. So I just tucked in and hoped I could end up somewhere."
Smith estimates he was trapped in the pipe for about a minute before washing out in a small creek on the other side of the road.
He escaped with no broken bones and no major injuries, which shocked his friends and neighbors.