A surge of rare flesh-eating bacteria has hit Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. The bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, tends to be found in warm bodies of water and has infected 65 people and killed 11.

Lee County, where Hurricane Ian made landfall on Sept. 28, accounts for 28 infections and four deaths. The county in southwest Florida was hit hardest by the Category 4 storm and reported 26 cases in just 18 days. The coastal area is a breeding pit for bacteria such as this one, and the storm only aggravated the issue.

"The Gulf Coast is the epicenter of disease like this," Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told the Washington Post. "You have a mix of climate change, poverty, and aggressive urbanization, all contributing to the exacerbation of vibrio infections and an increase of other diseases like dengue, Zika, and parasitic infections."

This year's surge in cases does not compare favorably to recent data, as 2022 has seen almost double the reported infections in 2021 and 2020.

Infection from Vibrio vulnificus is typically caused by eating undercooked oysters and shellfish, which usually results in cramping, diarrhea, or nausea.

However, in the aftermath of a hurricane direct contact with warm brackish water on open wounds or scratches tends to cause infections. Abrasions, ulcers, fatigue, and blisters are the most common symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 80,000 Americans get sick each year due to the bacteria. The majority of the cases are due to contaminated food.