What is it?
Vibrio (all non-cholera species incl. vibrio parahaemolyticus and vibrio vulnificus) is a curved-rod shaped bacteria in the same family with cholera that is usually found in saltwater and linked to improperly cooked seafood. Non-cholera vibrio infections have increased in recent years, perhaps because of warming ocean water temperatures and increased salinity. The CDC estimates 45,000 cases per year in the United States, but under-reporting is suspected. Although many other types of foodborne illnesses have decreased in recent years, vibrio cases increased as much as 115% between 1998 and 2010. Coastal regions, especially the Gulf Coast have the most reported cases.
How is it spread?
The majority of vibrio sufferers report eating seafood such as clams, oysters, crabs, and other shellfish. It can also be contracted by ingesting sea water, most likely in the hot summer or early fall months. Natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina contribute to spreading because of contaminated flood water.
Fever, abdominal cramps, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, and myalgia.
Most at risk
Young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and immunocompromised persons are most at risk (especially those with liver disease), but given the right conditions, anyone can suffer this illness.
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