Vibriosis in the USA (Florida)

28 September 2021

Article: 55/3905

The Florida Department of Health has reported 22 cases, which includes eight deaths, of vibriosis from 1 January 2021 to 17 September 2021.

Vibriosis is caused by Vibrio species of bacteria which are found in brackish and salt water environments. Infection can occur through eating raw or undercooked shellfish, resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea. Vibrio vulnificus (V. vulnificus) may also cause wound and soft tissue infections if a wound is exposed to water contaminated with the bacteria. Those affected usually have compromised immune systems. The resulting soft tissue infection may develop quickly, be severe and may need surgical treatment alongside antibiotics. In some cases, septicaemia may occur.

Advice for travellers

All travellers should be given advice on: 

  • maintaining safe food and water precautions, including avoidance of raw or undercooked seafood 
  • following basic steps in self-treating diarrhoea, particularly remaining adequately hydrated 
  • avoiding bathing until larger skin wounds have fully healed, if planning open water swimming during travel, particularly if immunocompromised

Medical attention should be sought quickly for any skin infections that develop after bathing, particularly if they progress quickly.

Source: TRAVAX, 22 September 2021