What are noncholera Vibrio?
Noncholera Vibrio are bacteria in the same family as those that cause cholera.
Where are noncholera Vibrio bacteria found?
Noncholera Vibrio bacteria live in saltwater and are commonly found in marine environments and estuaries. These bacteria are frequently isolated from oysters and other shellfish during the summer months.
How does this bacteria spread?
Noncholera Vibrio can cause disease in people who eat contaminated seafood or have an open wound that is exposed to seawater. There is no evidence for person-to-person transmission of noncholera Vibrio.
Who gets infected with noncholera Vibrio?
Persons who are immunocompromised, especially those with chronic liver disease, are at risk for noncholera Vibrio infection when they eat raw seafood, particularly oysters. Since noncholera Vibrio are naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to noncholera Vibrio through direct contact with seawater.
What are the symptoms of noncholera Vibrio infection?
Among healthy people, ingestion of noncholera Vibrio can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In immunocompromised persons, particularly those with chronic liver disease, noncholera Vibrio can infect the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness.
Noncholera Vibrio can also cause an infection of the skin when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater. These infections may lead to skin breakdown and ulceration.
How soon do symptoms appear?
Symptoms usually occur within 24 hours of eating contaminated food or within 12 to 72 hours after exposure to contaminated seawater.
What is the treatment for noncholera Vibrio infection?
Patients with diarrhea should drink plenty of liquids to replace lost fluids. In severe illnesses, (e.g., bloodstream or wound infection) antibiotics may be used.
How can this infection be prevented?
Some tips for preventing noncholera Vibrio infections, particularly among immunocompromised patients, including those with underlying liver disease:
Do not eat raw oysters or other raw shellfish.
Cook shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels) thoroughly:
For shellfish in the shell, either a) boil until the shells open and continue boiling for 5 more minutes, or b) steam until the shells open and then continue cooking for 9 more minutes. Do not eat those shellfish that do not open during cooking.
Boil shucked oysters at least 3 minutes or fry them in oil at least 10 minutes at 375°F.
This fact sheet is for informational purposes only. It should not be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you think that you may have this infection, or have questions about the disease described above, you should consult your health care provider.
For additional information on this disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
To contact the Epidemiology and Emerging Infections Program, please call 860-509-7994.