Vacationers on the Baltic Sea - Vibrions can get into the body through the smallest injuries
Photo: Stefan Sauer / dpa
Many Baltic seaside resorts are currently using notices to draw attention to the danger of vibrions.
The bacteria occur naturally in the Baltic Sea and multiply from water temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius.
In very rare cases, they can cause serious infections that can even be fatal.
Vibrions are widespread along the entire Baltic coast and into the Baltic region and are a natural component of saline waters.
According to the recently published Vibrionen report by the State Office for Health and Social Affairs (Lagus) of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, an 80-year-old man from the state was proven to have contracted an infection with the bacteria for the first time this year.
As the office reported, old age should be viewed as a risk factor in this case.
No further details were given.
In the 2020 bathing season, eight infections were reported in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and there were no deaths.
Since 2003 there have been a total of 69 infections from which nine people - all with relevant previous illnesses - have died, according to the report.
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), young and healthy adults rarely develop a Vibro infection.
The bacteria are particularly dangerous for the elderly and immunocompromised people.
People with previous illnesses such as diabetes, liver disease or cancer would have an increased risk of an illness and a serious course of the disease.
Ear infections are known to exist in children.
The smallest skin wounds can serve as a portal of entry
Vibrions can enter the body through injuries to the skin when someone is bathing.
Lagus warns that anyone who, due to age or illness, has an increased risk of becoming seriously ill with vibrions, should avoid contact of open wounds with the seawater in the Baltic Sea.
Even the smallest, imperceptible and only superficial skin wounds can serve as entry points, writes the office.
The first symptoms of a Vibrion infection usually appear after 12 to 72 hours.
An early symptom is local pain, which, given the visible wound, appears disproportionately strong, writes the RKI.
Fever, chills and sepsis could also occur.
"In the case of diseases in the Baltic Sea region, wound infections that spread quickly and can be accompanied by strong blistering and profound skin and tissue damage play the main role," said the state office.
On this basis, sepsis can develop quickly.
The infections are usually treated with antibiotics.
wbr / dpa