Vibrio vulnificus

Vibrio vulnificus

What: On September 10, 2021, in Leon County Florida, the Department of Health reported the 8th fatality to Vibrio vulnificus. There are currently 20 confirmed cases of the infection.

Vibrio vulnificus is a disease transmitted through seafood or an open wound by warm, contaminated seawater. If ingested, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain can occur. If an open wound is exposed to the water, it can cause an infection and skin ulcers. The symptoms Vibrio vulnificus in the bloodstream are fever, chills, decreased blood pressure (septic shock) and skin lesions with the infection becoming fatal 50% of the time (News Desk, 2021).


Why Important: Prevention is entirely up to the individual to heed warnings and being aware of their personal risk. Since Vibrio vulnificus is also a foodborne illness, there are certain requirements that should be followed when preparing, handling, and cooking raw seafood to avoid risk of infection as well as cross-contamination. V. vulnificus can also be bloodborne and is known as a flesh-eating bacterium due to the necrosis that can occur to open wounds, but it is not the only bacterium known for this. Symptoms can be mild for healthy individuals, but for those with pre-existing conditions and/or weakened immune system it can be lethal- especially for those with heart or liver disease.

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This YouTube link is for an older video, but it shows a personal take from someone that experienced ingesting the bacterium V. vulnificus after eating raw oysters and it quickly turning into an infection.


Public Health ImplicationsIn order to prevent infections, the public should be aware of what they can do by following the guidelines available that are relevant to the region. It is recommended that no one with an open wound should get into the water and appropriate footwear should be utilized to prevent cuts/broken skin (Florida Health, 2021). In order to avoid ingesting the bacterium, the CDC recommends not consuming raw seafood like oysters, cooking all seafood thoroughly and throwing out any shellfish that does not open during cooking (2020). Seek treatment immediately if you suspect infection or ingestion to receive antibiotics and wound cleaning (if applicable) to prevent amputation.



CDC. (2020, August 6). Vibriosis Prevention Tips. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Florida Health. (2021, September 10). Vibrio vulnificus | Florida Department of Health.

News Desk. (2021, September 10). Florida: Leon County records state’s 8th Vibrio vulnificus death. Outbreak News Today.