Posted: Thursday, 14 August 2014 7:09AM
DHH warning for travelers, beach goers, fisherman
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals issues a warning for travelers, beach goers, and fisherman about two diseases, vibrio vulnificus and the chikungunya virus.
State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says vibrio vulnificus is one of the flesh-eating bacteria found in brackish or saltwater.
"If they have an open wound and it starts getting red, and it looks like it's getting worse, they need to get seen quickly because it is treatable if you catch it early," Guidry explained. "But you can have some serious complications if you put it off."
He says vibrio vulnificus can be fatal, but it is treatable if you catch it early. DHH says the flesh-eating bacteria has infected 8 people in Louisiana this summer. Guidry says the chikungunya virus is usually transmitted by mosquitoes in the Caribbean. He says initial symptom of this virus resemble the flu.
"Then headaches, muscle aches, swelling, and pretty severe arthritis pain in the joints. So, if you're out in the Caribbean and you're coming back and having these symptoms, you should check with your physician."
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the chikungunya virus. Louisiana has confirmed eight travel-related cases. Guidry says the virus is not fatal, but it can be painful. He says if you think you've come in contact with either of these, you should see a doctor quickly. Guidry says these warnings are intended to keep the public informed about these diseases.
"We're not trying to alarm folks. But we're trying to make them aware of what they need to do if they come in contact with these issues."