What does it do?
The bacteria found in tarballs can be fatal. The bacteria found in the Deep Water Horizon included ten times the levels of Vibrio vulnificus as is found in sand. This bacteria is the leading cause of seafood-borne disease, which has a 20 to 30 percent fatality rate if it infects skin wounds.
However, the real health implications of the bacteria in tarballs are so far pretty much unknown, so beachgoers are being advised to stay away from them to stay safe, especially if they have skin conditions or compromised immune systems.
Studies of the bacteria in the tarballs are currently being conducted.
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