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A massive 5,000-mile wave of seaweed that has begun washing up in Florida has been found to hold deadly flesh-eating bacteria, according to a report by Newsweek on Tuesday.

The report shows that a study by Florida Atlantic University found that the Sargassum seaweed clump has been carrying floating plastics that hold the bacteria.

The bacteria — identified by researches as Vibrio bacteria — can cause infections if exposed to open wounds, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. An “open wound” can include those from piercings, tattoos or recent surgery, among others.

The bacteria is especially common in brackish water, a combination of fresh and salt water that is found along Florida’s beaches, the CDC explained.

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Infected wounds may also become necrotic, meaning that the flesh around the wound will end up dying and rotting away, Newsweek reports.

The CDC states that infections are typically treated with antibiotics, though symptoms include the following:

watery diarrheastomach crampingnauseavomitingfeverskin lesions and dangerously low blood pressure (in the case of bloodstream infections)discoloration and discharge (in the case of wound infections)

To prevent infection, the CDC suggests covering wounds in waterproof bandages if swimming in saltwater or brackish water. In addition, the CDC advises that swimmers wash their wounds and cuts with soap and water after coming into contact with brackish water.

Beyond the bacteria, researchers at FAU also announced earlier this year that a “toxic gas” found within the seaweed blob could pose health risks to coastal residents and visitors.

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