The infection can be extremely dangerous, but luckily, there are things you can do to protect yourself.

In Virginia so far this year, nine people have been infected by Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a dangerous flesh-eating bacteria. One person has died.

In response, Virginia health officials are warning people of the deadly bacteria, which is also the most commonly reported type of Vibrio infection in the state, USA Today reported. The number of infections tends to rise between April and October due to warmer sea temperatures, the outlet also said.

This flesh-eating bacteria probably sounds a little scary, so here’s what you should know.

Where’s it at?

“The Vibrio species that cause vibriosis naturally live in the salt or brackish (i.e., somewhat salty) water of Virginia’s coastal zone,” according to the Virginia Department of Health.

How do I become infected?

When you eat raw or undercooked fish or expose an open cut or wound to seawater, you can become infected. The health department’s website said that those who have pre-existing medical conditions, such as liver disease, diabetes, or HIV, are at a greater risk of infection and experiencing severe complications.

How do I protect myself?

The health department recommends eating cooked seafood (sorry, sushi lovers). If you have a cut or scrape — even a minor one — try to avoid contact with seawater or preparing raw seafood, such as oysters and shrimp. If contact is inevitable, ensure you’ve covered your wound with a waterproof bandage. And most importantly, wash any cuts with soap and clean water if they’ve been exposed to seawater, raw seafood, or juices from seafood, the health department said.

Did you know this about flesh-eating bacteria in Virginia? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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