Severe Vibrio vulnificus Infections in the United States Associated with Warming Coastal Waters   
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Severe Vibrio vulnificus Infections in the United States Associated with Warming Coastal Waters

What You Need To Know

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing an alert to notify healthcare providers, laboratories, and public health departments about recent reports of fatal Vibrio vulnificus (V. vulnificus) infections.
  • The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) encourages healthcare providers to consider V. vulnificus as a possible cause of infection in wounds that were exposed to coastal waters especially in patients at higher risk for infection.
Clinicians should obtain cultures for all patients where V. vulnificus is suspected and initiate treatment promptly. Isolates are requested to be sent to the Public Health and Environmental Laboratories (PHEL). V. vulnificus bacteria thrive in warmer waters, especially during the summer months (May to October) and in low-salt marine environments like estuaries. Unlike other Vibrio species, V. vulnificus is primarily transmitted through open-wound contact with salt water or brackish water, but occasionally the bacteria also can infect people if they eat raw or undercooked shellfish. Person-to-person transmission has not been reported. People at higher risk for wound infection include those with underlying health conditions such as liver disease, diabetes, and immunocompromising conditions. Amid increasing water temperatures and extreme weather events (e.g., heat waves, flooding, and severe storms) associated with climate change, people who are at increased risk for V. vulnificus infection should exercise caution when engaging in coastal water activities.

For More Information

All cases, clusters and outbreaks should be reported to the Local Health Department where the facility is located; contact information is available at:
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