Garden Route oysters and waters declared safe following bacteria scare

Test results conducted by the Eden District Municipality in all water bodies in Wilderness and surrounds last week came back negative after being tested for Vibro vulnificus in water bodies in the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP), eliminating the possibility that shellfish in the area may have been contaminated with a deadly bacteria.

eden-dmThis comes after a fit 81-year-old man from the Kaaimans River, which is a few kilometers from the Garden Route National Park, died from the vibro vulnificus bacteria after swimming in the ocean in the area recently.

The bacteria is found naturally worldwide in warm coastal waters and there is no association with sewage contamination, the GRNP’s Nandi Mgwadlamba says. Although Vibrio vulnificus infection is not a notifiable disease in South African, the death spurred scientists to sample the Garden Route ocean’s water for traces of the bacteria.

An alert was also issued by the District Municipality to persons with underlying medical conditions, any chronic condition especially liver disease and diabetes to not swim with open wounds in brackish water as they may be at increased risk of serious infection.

Some evident signs of infection include severe pain, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Members who contract these symptoms are advised to seek medical assistance urgently.

SANParks scientists are now convinced that this fatality “was the rarest case ever”, said Mgwadlamba, as all tests for the bacteria, from waters sampled from Plettenberg Bay along the whole Garden Route, came back negative.


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