Dangerous flesh-eating bacterial infections increased in Florida after Hurricane Ian, according to the Florida Department of Health.
In the most recent case, an elderly adult in her 80s from Naples died from one such bacterial infection, which is a new disease in the US.
The woman, who has not been identified as an individual or organization, had been treated at a local hospital, the state department said in a news release.
The bacteria were discovered on October 24 at a local hospital. They spread to the woman’s body and spread to her heart and lungs.
“The bacteria which caused the infection have now spread throughout her body,” the health department said in a news release.
The elderly patient’s family, who lived in the same community where this Florida patient died, reported to officials that the elderly woman had become ill about a week before she died, and had been hospitalized.
Hospital staff performed an autopsy which confirmed that the death was due to a flesh-eating bacterial infection, health department officials said on Wednesday.
The bacteria that caused the infection have now spread throughout her body.
The state’s death toll from Hurricane Florence, which hit the Carolinas in September, rose to 27 – seven of which are still in the hospital. More than 4,900 people in South Carolina are still listed as in need of emergency aid.
The health department said there were five more cases of flesh-eating bacterial infections reported in October.
South Carolina is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes because the coast near the state is steep and narrow, meaning it is prone to high winds and flooding.
“Every season we see an increase and increase in the number of flesh-eating bacteria which can spread to the human body,” Dr. Steven Morris, chief medical and director of the department of health’s Division of Communicable Diseases, said in a statement.
“But we need to make sure that we are doing anything we can as health care providers to protect our healthcare workers and patients.”
The state department of health said it has launched an investigation to determine how and why the bacteria were able to spread into the woman’s body.
An additional nine people, including four tourists in the US, contracted the flesh-eating bacteria infection after visiting the area, the health department said.
The health department said the bacteria, which cause infections in the digestive tract and skin,