CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Deadly bacteria have been found in some communities along the U.S. Gulf. Dr. Gregory Buck at the Island University is not surprised it’s made its way here.
"The bacteria tends to like tropical climates like Asia, Africa, Australia. It's not surprising that it has reached the Gulf Coast,” Buck said.
Burkholderia pseudomallei and vibrio, a flesh-eating bacteria has been found in the seaweed washing ashore.
“This bacteria can move through water currents. It may have been deposited through ballast from a ship. We honestly don’t know,” Buck said.
What has experts worried is what can happen if you’re exposed to this bacteria.
“If you’re going to walk, barefoot be careful not to have scraps or cuts on your feet or toes,” Buck said.
Buck said if exposed to this bacteria, a person can develop severe symptoms. Possibly death.
Adrien Hilmy with Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries explains the risk is low but possible.
“There are others like Vibrio that you want to be aware of. It’s always good practice if you have open sores or cuts to avoid getting in the water,” Hilmy explained.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both bacteria are now likely lurking in soil and stagnant water across the 1,600 miles from Texas to Florida.
“I think it’s something that needs to be monitored and researched and we need to learn more about,” Hilmy said.
If you come in contact with the bacteria. Dr. Buck knows of a treatment. One that should be offered at area hospitals.