Vibrio vulnificus

Vibrio vulnificus

color = lightgrey
name = "Vibrio vulnificus"

image_width = 240px
image_caption = False-color SEM image of "Vibrio vulnificus"
regnum = Bacteria
phylum = Proteobacteria
classis = Gamma Proteobacteria
ordo = Vibrionales
familia = Vibrionaceae
genus = "Vibrio"
species = "V. vulnificus"
binomial = "Vibrio vulnificus"
binomial_authority = (Reichelt et al. 1979)
Farmer 1980

"Vibrio vulnificus" is a species of Gram-negative, motile, curved, rod-shaped bacteria in the genus "Vibrio". Present in marine environments such as estuaries, brackish ponds, or coastal areas, "V. vulnificus" is closely related to ""V. cholerae"", the causative agent of cholera.cite book | author = Oliver JD, Kaper J | title = Vibrio species. pp. 263-300 In: Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers. (Doyle MP et al, editors) | edition = 2nd ed. | publisher = ASM Press | year = 2001 | id = 1555811175 ] ,cite journal | author=Oliver JD | title=Wound infections caused by Vibrio vulnificus and other marine bacteria | journal=Epidemiol Infect | year=2005 | pages=383–91 | volume=133 | issue=3 | pmid=15962544 | doi=10.1017/S0950268805003894]

Clinical features

"Vibrio vulnificus" causes an infection often incurred after eating seafood, especially oysters; the bacteria can also enter the body through open wounds when swimming or wading in infected waters, or via puncture wounds from the spines of fish such as tilapia. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and a blistering dermatitis that is sometimes mistaken for pemphigus or pemphigoid. Severe symptoms and even death can occur if the bacterium enters the bloodstream—something more common in people with compromised immune systems or liver disease. [cite web | title=Vibrio vulnificus | work=NCBI Genome Project | url= | accessdate=2005-09-01 ]


"Vibrio vulnificus" infection has a mortality rate of 50% with the majority of patients dying within the first 48 hours of infection. The optimal treatment is not known, but in one retrospective study of 93 patients in Taiwan, use of a third-generation cephalosporin and a tetracycline (e.g., ceftriaxone and doxycycline) were associated with an improved outcome.cite journal | year=2006 | volume=166 | issue=19 | pages=2117–23 | title=Prognostic factors and antibiotics in "Vibrio vulnificus" septicemia | author=Liu JW, Lee IK, Tang HJ, "et al." | pmid=17060542 | unused_data=Arch Intern Med ] Prospective clinical trials are needed to confirm this finding, but "in vitro" data supports the supposition that this combination is synergistic against "Vibrio vulnificus".

"Vibrio vulnificus" often causes large, disfiguring ulcers which require extensive or even amputation.


The worst prognosis is in those patients who arrive at hospital in a state of shock. Total mortality in treated patients is around 33%.

Those patients who are especially vulnerable, including those with immunocompromised states (cancer, bone marrow suppression, HIV, diabetes, etc.) With these cases, "V. vulnificus" usually enters the bloodstream, where it may cause fever and chills, septic shock (with sharply decreased blood pressure), and blistering skin lesions.cite book | author = Oliver JD, Kaper J | title = Vibrio vulnificus. In: Oceans and Health: Pathogens in the Marine Environment. (Belken SS, Colwell RR, editors) | edition = 2nd ed. | publisher = Springer Science | year = 2005 | id = 0387237089 ] According to the CDC, about half of those who contract blood infections die.

"Vibrio vulnificus" infections also disproportionately affect males; 85% of those who develop endotoxic shock from the bacteria are male. Females who have had an oophorectomy experienced increased mortality rates, as estrogen is believed to have a protective effect against "V. vulnificus". [cite journal | author=Merkel SM, Alexander S, Zufall E, Oliver JD, Huet-Hudson YM | title=Essential Role for Estrogen in Protection against "Vibrio vulnificus"-Induced Endotoxic Shock | journal=Infection and Immunity | volume=69 | issue=10 | year=2001 | pages=6119–22 | pmid=11553550 | doi=10.1128/IAI.69.10.6119-6122.2001]


Health officials clearly identified strains of "V. vulnificus" infections among refugees from New Orleans due to the flooding there caused by Hurricane Katrina. [cite news | first=Scott | last=Gold | pages= | title=Newest Peril from Flooding Is Disease | date=September 6, 2005 | publisher=Los Angeles Times ]


External links

* [ Large and detailed article on "V. vulnificus" at "Todar's Online Textbook of Bacteriology"]

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