March 24, 2018

Vibrio in Florida: 16 Illnesses, 3 Deaths

At least 16 people in Florida have been diagnosed with Vibrio infections this year, three of them have died. State health officials are warning people to take precautions that can prevent illness.

Raw Oysters with LemonVibrio vulnificus is a bacterium found in warm salt water. People can get Vibrio infections two ways: eating raw shellfish or swimming in the ocean with open wounds.

Vibrio infections in open wounds can cause the skin to breakdown and form ulcers that have difficulty healing.Some wounds may require surgery or lead to amputation.

Foodborne Vibrio infections cause symptoms such as fever, chills, decreased blood pressure and blistering skin lesions.  In some cases, where the infection moves form the intestines to the bloodstream the infection can be fatal.

Foodborne vibrio infections are most often associated with the consumption of raw oysters. To avoid infections, health authorities advise to eat only cooked shellfish, to wear gloves when handling raw shellfish, to be careful to prevent cross contamination in the kitchen while preparing it, to refrigerate leftovers promptly and to refrain from swimming in ocean waters if you have an open wound.

People with  pre-existing medical conditions were 80 times more likely to develop Vibrio bloodstream infections than healthy people, according to Florida health officials. These people should take extra care when eating or preparing shellfish or when swimming.



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