Vibriosis Fact Sheet

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Vibriosis can be a mild to serious infection. It is caused by Vibrio bacteria that grow in coastal waters

People at higher risk for a serious infection are those who have:

  • Chronic liver disease (from hepatitis, cirrhosis, alcoholism)
  • Diabetes
  • Iron overload disease (hemochromatosis)
  • People taking stomach acid reducers
  • A weakened immune system (due to medication, HIV or AIDS, etc.)

While people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for serious infection, it is important to remember that healthy people can get sick too.

People can get Vibrio infections in different ways

These activities can put you at risk for Vibrio infection:

  • Eating raw or undercooked shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels) or crabs
  • Cross-contamination of raw shellfish or crabs or their drippings with other food surfaces or containers
  • Injury during activities in coastal waters (i.e,. cut finger while crabbing, scrape from shell or sharp object)
  • Exposure of existing cuts or sores to coastal waters, raw shellfish or crab, or their drippings

Symptoms to look for after eating raw or undercooked seafood may include:

  • Signs of severe infection (septicemia), including fever and low blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain

Symptoms can start from 12 to 72 hours after eating infected food

Symptoms to look for from infected cuts or sores may include:

  • Increasing swelling, redness, pain, or blistering (blood colored) at the site of the cut or sore
  • Fever

Vibrio infections can be treated with antibiotics

Call a doctor immediately if you have these symptoms. Make sure to tell the doctor if you have eaten raw or under-cooked shellfish or crabs or have been exposed to coastal waters in the last 3 days

Vibrio infections can be prevented

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked shellfish or crabs; cook shellfish and crabs completely and throw away shellfish that do not open during cooking.
  • Do not let raw shellfish or crabs or their drippings touch other foods
  • Clean surfaces and containers that raw shellfish or crabs touched during preparation
  • Wear gloves when touching raw shellfish or crabs or their drippings
  • Keep open cuts and sores away from raw shellfish or crabs, their drippings and coastal waters
  • If exposed to coastal water, raw shellfish or crabs, or their drippings, wash wound with soap and clean