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Diseases » Vibrio vulnificus » Wikipedia

Vibrio vulnificus in Wikipedia

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Vibrio vulnificus". (Source - Retrieved 2006-09-07 14:14:09 from


Vibrio vulnificus is a species of Gram-negative, motile, curved, rod-shaped bacteria in the genus Vibrio. Present in marine environments such as estuaries, brackish ponds, or coastal areas, V. vulnificus is closely related to V. cholerae, the causative agent of cholera.$[1],[2]$


Vibrio vulnificus causes an infection often incurred after eating seafood, especially oysters; the bacteria can also enter the body through open wounds when swimming or wading. $[2]$ Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and a blistering dermatitis that is sometimes mistaken for pemphigus or pemphigoid. Severe symptoms and even death can occur if the bacterium enters the bloodstream—something more common in people with compromised immune systems or liver disease. $[3]$

Vibrio vulnificus infections can be easily cured with antibiotics such as doxycycline or cephalosporins, both of which produce no long-lasting effects, but only if treatment is begun within the first 1–2 days.$[4]$

Some individuals are especially vulnerable, including those with immunocompromised states (cancer, bone marrow suppression, HIV, diabetes, etc}. With these cases, V. vulnificus usually enters the bloodstream, where it may cause fever and chills, septic shock (with sharply decreased blood pressure), and blistering skin lesions.$[4]$ According to the CDC, about half of those who contract blood infections die.

Vibrio vulnificus infections also disproportionately affect males, with 85% of those developing endotoxic shock from the bacteria being male. Females who had a gonadectomy experienced increased mortality rates, as estrogen is believed to have a protective effect against V. vulnificus.$[5]$


Health officials clearly identified strains of V. vulnificus infections among refugees from New Orleans due to the flooding there caused by Hurricane Katrina. $[6]$


  1. Oliver JD, Kaper J (2001). Vibrio species. pp. 263-300 In: Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers. (Doyle MP et al, editors), 2nd ed., ASM Press. 1555811175.
  2. Oliver JD (2005). "Wound infections caused by Vibrio vulnificus and other marine bacteria". Epidemiol Infect 133 (3): 383-91. PMID 15962544.
  3. $Vibrio vulnificus$. NCBI Genome Project. Retrieved on 2005-09-01.
  4. Oliver JD, Kaper J (2005). Vibrio vulnificus. In: Oceans and Health: Pathogens in the Marine Environment. (Belken SS, Colwell RR, editors), 2nd ed., Springer Science. 0387237089.
  5. Merkel SM, Alexander S, Zufall E, Oliver JD, Huet-Hudson YM (2001). "Essential Role for Estrogen in Protection against Vibrio vulnificus-Induced Endotoxic Shock". Infection and Immunity 69 (10): 6119–22. PMID 11553550.
  6. Gold, Scott, "Newest Peril from Flooding Is Disease", Los Angeles Times, September 6, 2005.

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