Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True
Hoax Alert

Fake News: Flesh-eating bacteria Vibro Vulnificus in Florida Ocean Did NOT Just Hospitalizes 32, Kill 10

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 11 Jun 2018 09:15:15 Z)

Did a flesh-eathing bacteria just kill 10 and hospitalize 32 people, according to newly issued warnings? No, that's not true: the events took place in 2014 but a news report about it recently went viral again after someone posted it to a Christian Facebook group:

The story originated from an article published by ABC Action News on July 29, 2014 titled "Flesh-eating bacteria: Vibro Vulnificus in Florida ocean hospitalizes 32, kills 10" (archived here) which opened:

New warnings issued Monday surrounding a bacteria found in the ocean that has already killed several people in Florida.

It is called Vibrio vulnificus, a cousin of the bacterium that causes Cholera and it thrives in warm saltwater. "Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater," the Florida Department of Health said in a statement.

The Florida Department of Health reports 13 people have contracted the bacteria and 3 have died from the strain. Last year, 41 people were infected and 11 died. Florida isn't the only state to report Vibrio vulnificus infections. Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi have also recorded cases.

Screenshot of https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/state/flesh-eating-bacteria-vibro-vulnificus-in-florida-ocean-hospitalizes-32-kills-10

The story was later updated with an editor's note:


However on social media people only saw this title, description and thumbnail which made it appear as if it was recent news:

Flesh-eating bacteria: Vibro Vulnificus in Florida ocean hospitalizes 32, kills 10

New warnings issued Monday surrounding a flesh-eating bacteria found in the ocean that has already killed several people in Florida.

Before sharing an alarming piece of news it is a good idea to always check the date first!

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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