The Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County (DOH-Santa Rosa) has confirmed the first case of Vibrio vulnificus infection in a Santa Rosa County resident this year. The bacterium was identified by means of a blood culture.
Vibrio vulnificus may enter the body through a wound exposed to seawater containing the bacteria or ingestion of raw seafood, particularly oysters. DOH-Santa Rosa urges residents to avoid eating raw oysters and other shellfish and exposing open wounds to seawater and estuarine water that may harbor the bacteria. Occurring naturally in the warm waters, particularly during the warm summer months, Vibrio vulnificus has the potential to cause serious illness.
Among healthy individuals, ingestion of vibrio vulnificus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Symptoms ofvibrio vulnificus in a wound infection also typically include swelling, pain, and redness at the wound site. Individuals experiencing these symptoms, especially after exposure to seawater or eating raw shellfish should contact a physician immediately for diagnosis and treatment.
Thoroughly cooking oysters and other shellfish, either by frying, stewing, or roasting eliminates harmful bacteria and viruses in the meat. Consuming raw oysters that have undergone a post-harvest treatment process to eliminate the bacteria can also reduce the risk of illness. Avoiding exposure of open wounds to seawater and estuarine water reduces the risk of wound infections.
Additional information on Vibrio vulnificus can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/vibriov/index.html.
The Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.