November 30, 2021

How Do You Know If You Have a Vibrio Parahaemolyticus Infection?

How do you know if you have a Vibrio parahaemolyticus Infection? This illness is caused by a type of bacteria that grows in marine water and can grow in shellfish. The pathogen causes an illness called vibriosis.

How Do You Know If You Have a Vibrio Parahaemolyticus Infection?

Vibrio bacteria are found naturally in marine coastal waters, in saltwater, and in rivers and streams where freshwater meets saltwater. It is usually present in levels that are low enough to cause no problems, but it grows and multiples rapidly when water temperatures are high. Most vibrio illnesses and outbreaks occur in the summer months.

Most cases of vibriosis are caused by eating raw and undercooked shellfish. Even fully cooked seafood can be recontaminated if rinsed with seawater after cooking. Other issues that can cause rapid bacteria growth include not keeping shellfish cold after harvesting, and poor food handling practices.

Vibrio bacteria are destroyed by cooking shellfish to an internal temperature of 145°F for 15 seconds. Shellfish is not fully cooked when the shells open. Always use a reliable and accurate food thermometer and test the temperature of shellfish every time you cook.

If you do harvest shellfish, make sure that you check your area’s shellfish safety maps or contact your local health department before you go. Only harvest shellfish when the tide is gong out. And never harvest shellfish that have been exposed to the sun for more than one hour, or less time in really hot weather.

Symptoms of a vibrio parahaemolyticus infection usually appear four hour to four days after eating shellfish contaminated with the pathogen, but most people get sick within 12 to 24 hours. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headache, and chills. Most people have a mild illness and get better within a few days, but some people may need hospitalization.

The groups that may have a more severe illness include people with compromised immune systems, and people who take antacids. Acid in your stomach helps kill the bacteria, so when stomach acids are reduced, the bacteria can survive and get into the intestines, where the illness occurs.

There are several other marine vibrios that can cause illness. Thy include Vibrio vulnificus that can serious infection and death in people with weakened immune systems, but this infection is very rare.

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