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Here's Why a Man Died After Swimming With a New Tattoo

A man who got a new tattoo and then went for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico has died after contracting Vibrio vulnificus, a bacterium found in seawater and raw oysters. According to, high-powered antibiotics failed to treat him. Dermatologists noted that while tattoos are generally safe, they are still a type of wound that make it easy for infections to develop until the wound is healed.

It’s tragic that someone had to die to show once again the dangers that we’re facing as superbugs overcome the best antibiotics that we have. In America, antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect at least 2 million people every year. The threat of antimicrobial resistance is also increasing around the globe, and as more bacteria become drug-resistant, the only real protection we have is to take care to prevent infection in the first place.

We can begin by keeping wounds of all types clean and avoiding contamination in swimming pools or open waters until our wounds are completely healed.

We can also demand that confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) stop the use of antibiotics now (better yet, shut down CAFOs and get rid of many problems), as the CAFO practice of feeding low doses of antibiotics to farm animals is contributing to the spread of deadly antibiotic-resistant disease.

Additionally, use antibiotics responsibly, yourself, taking them only when necessary. And, rethink where you buy your food. Choosing food from farms that do not feed low-dose antibiotics in animal feed is crucial. While avoiding CAFO meats, look for antibiotic-free alternatives raised by organic and regenerative farmers. Shop local farmers markets for grass fed meats and dairy products, and purchase only USDA certified organic foods in your grocery store.
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