HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WGNO) — In July of last year, the CDC and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) discovered two cases of a rare and potentially deadly bacteria called Burkholderia Pseudomallei along the coast.

In January this year, it’s been spotted again, causing some to avoid the water.

Pass Christian resident Bobby West says, “Oh, I stay out of the water at all cost. I have a lot of friends who like to go to the river and stuff. I know it’s a little different over in the river, but there’s still bacteria in the river because it’s all connected by the oceans and stuff, so I just stay out of it.”

According to the MSDH, the bacteria can cause a disease called Melioidosis. It can cause fever, joint pain, headaches and more.

Some serious cases can even lead to pneumonia and blood infections. According to the CDC, those who contract the disease face a 50% survival rate.

“I’ve heard of people walking along through the sand close to my age and ended up dying just from being in the sand,” Pass Christian resident Marshall West said.

While many healthy people are able to contract the bacteria with no problem, people with certain chronic illnesses can be at risk for more serious infections.

“I avoid it like the plague. I hate it. I’m a high risk. I’m overweight. I have diabetes, so I have different factors. I know if I end up with something, it’s going to be bad; so I just stay out of it,” Bobby West said.

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