Delaware Public Media

Recent Delaware swim advisories not due to 'flesh eating bacteria'

Jul 5, 2019

Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says recent swim advisories in Delaware had nothing to do with the reports of flesh eating bacteria in the waters of neighboring states.

New Jersey and Maryland each recently reported cases of vibrio vulnificus bacterial infections in swimmers. 

Mild vibriosis cases can be over in a matter of days. But extreme ones can require limb amputation or lead to death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

DNREC officials say they test for that bacteria but point out it does occur naturally in coastal waters. And they note the recent swimming advisory for North Indian River Inlet was not related to vibrio bacteria.

It was instead related to enterococcus, or fecal bacteria in warm blooded animals like large shore birds.

DNREC says heavy rainfall and a rough surf can cause that bacteria to be washed into area waterways.

The state collects water samples weekly at Delaware beaches during the swimming season. 

The advisory for North Indian River inlet was lifted Wednesday. All Delaware beaches are open for swimming.