(People) – As summer heats up and people head to the water to cool off, cases of flesh-eating bacteria are becoming more frequent, primarily on the eastern seaboard. While chances of contracting a potentially-deadly bacteria from the waters is low — there are typically about 20,000 cases in the U.S. each year, which is small in relation to the number of swimmers — it’s important to know how to stay safe, especially as climate change is leading to an increased number of cases. To get the facts on how people can protect

themselves from all types of flesh-eating bacteria, as well as the risks, PEOPLE spoke with Dr. Scott Weisenberg, professor of infectious diseases at New York University Langone Health and medical director of the Travel Medicine Program. Generally, when people use that term, they are referring to a tissue-destroying infection. Different types of bacteria can cause it, but one — vibrio — is associated with the summertime seawater exposures that are in the news now. The most severe symptom is necrotizing fasciitis, which is an aggressive and potentially deadly infection. READ MORE

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