Vibrio vulnificus
Vibrio Vulnificus

Vibrio Vulnificus: Characteristics, Sources, 5 Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

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What is Vibrio vulnificus? Vibrio Vulnificus is a gram-negative bacillus that only attacks humans and other primates. It is the same family of bacteria that cause cholera. The first documented case of disease caused by an organism was in 1979.

Vibrio vulnificus is commonly found in warm, shallow coastal salt water in temperate regions of most of the world. It can be found in the Gulf of Mexico, along most of the East Coast of the United States, and along the West Coast of the United States.

V vulnificus can be found in water; deposits; plankton; and shellfish, such as oysters, clams, and crabs. These organisms can survive in seawater and can produce wound infections, a potentially serious problem among Asian tsunami victims, and potentially fatal necrotizing fasciitis in them and in individuals with cirrhosis of the liver.

These halophilic bacteria can also cause serious gastroenteritis after eating raw seafood.

Vibrio vulnificus bacteria can be life-threatening for a reason. According to Dr. Jeff Duchin, head of infectious diseases in Washington, if the deadly bacteria can cause septicaemia. For those who don’t know, septicaemia is a bacterial behavior that can infect the blood in a short period of time. Then it can also make people affected by Vibrio vulnificus have severe indigestion.

Vibrio vulnificus itself is often referred to as flesh-eating bacteria, but it is not accurate. The reason is that Vibrio vulnificus can only infect people if it enters the body through food, in contrast to flesh-eating bacteria that can enter through wounds.


Vibrio vulnificus is a gram-negative pathogenic microbe and it is a non-spore bacterium of the family Vibrionaceae that can be found naturally in warm water areas (obligate halophilic) that grow in both tropical and subtropical marine environments.

The number of these organisms depends on the temperature of the sea water, which usually amounts to more found in the summer. These bacteria are found in foods that can cause infection in humans who eat them. Vibrio vulnificus can also be found living freely in seawater and mud deposits on the seabed.

Food Sources and Contamination

Vibrio vulnificus food sources
Vibrio Vulnificus: Characteristics, Sources, 5 Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention 2

These pathogenic bacteria are usually associated with seafood from estuaries or coastal seas with the highest water temperature, such as the one on the southern coast of the United States.

Although Vibrio vulnificus generally live form colonies in oysters, mussels, plaques, and crabs that live in salty waters. Therefore, food stuffs that are often contaminated by these bacteria are often associated with shellfish and crustacean, but it can also be found in the feed of plankton fish and other fish.

Vibrio vulnificus form tissues and it is an organism that can contaminate fish from the deep-sea environment.

Vibrio Vulnificus Symptoms

In general, people affected by this bacteria will develop symptoms within 24 hours after eating seafood. 

Symptoms caused by Vibrio vulnificus bacteria are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Fever.

The symptoms are very trivial but it is best not to be ignored. Because, these bacteria can cause unexpected deaths.

Vibrio Vulnificus Treatment

The main treatment in Vibrio vulnificus infection is to use antibiotic. In the symptoms of necrosis due to an open wound infection, amputation of parts of the body is required.

Antibiotic use for treatment include:

  • Doxycycline (100 mg PO / IV twice daily for 7-14 days) and third-generation cephalosporins (eg. Ceftazidime 1-2 g IV / IM every eight hours), and tetracyclines.
  • In children, where doxycycline cannot be used, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole plus aminoglycosides can be used.

Vibrio Vulnificus Prevention

So that we do not contract the bacteria, there are things that can be done.

Avoid eating raw seafood

The first is to avoid eating raw seafood. So it is better that we consume the ripe just so that there are no bacteria attached.

Cook the food ingredients yourself

Then the second is as much as possible to cook these food ingredients yourself. That way it will be safer than buying an unknown how clean it is.

Read also:
Bacterial Meningitis: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis

Last Updated on September 13, 2020 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team

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