Public Health Advisory - Out on the Water?
WHAT IS VIBRIO VULNIFICUS (V.v.)?
V.v., is a bacteria commonly found in warm, brackish and saltwater, and in shellfish during the summer months. If contracted, it may cause a rare, but serious disease.
HOW CAN I GET IT?
- Eating raw or undercooked shellfish including oysters, shrimp and crabs.
- Exposing open wounds, cuts or scratches of the skin to brackish or saltwater.
WHO IS AT RISK?
- People with weakened immune systems, particularly those with chronic liver disease.
- Healthy people may develop a mild infection.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or fever.
- A skin infection may lead to skin breakdown and skin ulcers.
- The bacteria can invade the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness with symptoms like fever, chills, decreased blood pressure (septic shock) and blistering skin lesions.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Keep brackish and saltwater away from open wounds.
There may be a risk associated with consuming raw shellfish. If you suffer from chronic illness of the liver, kidney failure or have other immune disorders, or if you're going through or have been through chemotherapy, have used steroids for a long time or are using antacids, you should eat these products fully cooked.
Avoid cross contaminating ready-to-eat foods with raw shellfish and its juices.
Avoid skin punctures or seafood dripping on skin when handling raw shellfish, including oyster shells, shrimp and crabs.
Seek medical care earlier, rather than later, if you have symptoms after exposure to brackish or saltwater.
As a reminder, play it safe.
For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov/vibrio/vibriov.html.
For a PDF version of this Advisory click here.