Many beach visitors may not know it, but according to the Texas General Land Office, the bacteria is naturally-occurring and it appears every summer. GLO's press secretary said the strain is the most common virus found in warm, stagnant bay water and it can also be found in the gulf.
Kacey Vratis was born and raised in Bolivar and as a nurse, she's helped treat several patients with bacterial skin infections.
Vratis said only a small number of cases are reported each summer and most of those cases come from people with weak immune systems who have exposed, open wounds.
If caught early, the virus can be treated but Vratis said waiting can be deadly.
"There was one case I was able to take care of and she did not make it," Vratis said. "However she did not go directly to the hospital she waited a few days, it was a cut in her hand that took over her arm and got into her bloodstream."
Experts recommend doing the following to avoid contracting the bacteria:
- Check water advisories before heading out to the beach by visiting www.TexasBeachWatch.com where beaches are monitored by the General Land Office several times a week.
- Avoid the water if you have open cuts and a weak immune system
- Rinse off with fresh water after swimming