The Many Weird Germs You Can Catch at the Beach

The mostly empty Newport Beach in California.
Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez (AP)

Earlier this month, South Carolina resident Brent Norman had an especially unlucky time at the beach.

As reported by local outlet ABCNews4 last week, Norman stepped and cut his foot on several seashells while taking a barefoot walk on the sand. Within a week’s time, his injured foot had gotten so swollen and painful that he could no longer walk on it. Norman then saw doctors, who reportedly diagnosed him with a nasty case of Vibrio infection that he likely caught from the seashells—bacteria that can potentially cause flesh-eating disease. Luckily, the infection appears to have been caught in time and Norman was given a two-week course of antibiotic treatment. He fully expects to return to his usual beach routine once his foot fully heals up.

Though Norman’s case might be strange in terms of how he got sick, lakeside and coastal beaches are unfortunately home to all sorts of weird and horrifying infectious diseases. Here’s a rundown of some of the worst offenders.

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