NEW YORK (AP) — The death of a Long Island resident has been linked to a bacteria found in raw shellfish that has also been blamed for two deaths in Connecticut, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday.
The vibrio vulnificus bacteria was identified in a Suffolk County resident who died recently, Hochul said.
“While rare, the vibrio bacteria has unfortunately made it to this region and can be extraordinarily dangerous,” Hochul said in a news release.
Precautions for avoiding the potentially deadly bacteria include protecting open wounds from seawater and, for those with compromised immune systems, forgoing raw or undercooked shellfish, the governor said.
Officials are investigating whether the bacteria was encountered in New York waters or elsewhere, the governor said, adding that health care providers should consider the possibility of Vibrio vulnificus exposure when treating patients with severe wound infections or sepsis.
Health officials said anyone can get vibriosis, the illness caused by the bacteria, but those with liver disease, cancer or a weakened immune system, or people taking medicine to decrease stomach acid levels may be more susceptible to infection or more likely to develop complications.
The two people who died in Connecticut were among three in the state known to have been infected with the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria this year, Connecticut heath officials said. All were between the ages of 60 and 80, the officials said.