Health officials are warning of a rare flesh-eating bacterium known as Vibrio vulnificus, found naturally in warm coastal waters, that has killed at least eight people along the East Coast this summer.

Two people died in Connecticut and another on Long Island after becoming infected, health officials in both states said this week. Five people have died in Florida so far this year, according to state health officials.

Vibrio infections are commonly associated with eating raw or undercooked oysters and other seafood, but also occur when people with open wounds or cuts come in contact with seawater or brackish water where the bacteria are present, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vibrio are bacteria that occur naturally in brackish water such as the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, and in salt water, especially during warm weather months, the Maryland Department of the Environment said. Vibrio infections are relatively rare in Maryland and nationwide.... Read More: Pikesville Patch