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Claim: ‘Climate change’ responsible for rise in flesh-eating bacteria cases

As ocean waters warm because of climate change, the Vibrio vulnificus is migrating northstudies have found.

“The warmer water is, the more bacteria can reproduce faster,” researcher Gabby Barbarite at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, Florida told USA TODAY.

“At least a dozen people have died from the infection across the country this year. About 80,000 people get vibrio infections each year. Of those infected, about 100 people will die from the infection annually in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Infections have increased eightfold from 1988 to 2018 around the country, according to research published in March in the journal Nature Portfolio. The bacteria and infections are spreading northward up the East Coast at a rate of about 30 miles a year, researchers say.