At least six German vacationers have contracted the bacterial infection, Vibrio vulnificus, resulting in one fatality and one patient in a coma to date.
The State Office of Health and Welfare (LAGuS) of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania says the one victim died in the beginning of August after vacationing on the island of Usedom at the end of July, while another patient has been in a coma for three weeks and risks losing his leg.
The last recorded deaths in Germany from V. vulnificus poisoning were in 2010, when the bacteria claimed two victims, The Local reports.
Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that normally lives in warm seawater and is part of a group of vibrios that are called “halophilic” because they require salt. It most frequently seen in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico; however as LAGuS director, Dr. Heiko Will told The Local, “This could be found anywhere as long as the conditions are right”, including the waters along the German coast.
According to the Florida Department of Health, People can get infected with Vibrio vulnificus when they eat raw shellfish, particularly oysters. The bacterium is frequently isolated from oysters and other shellfish in warm coastal waters during the summer months. Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater. There is no evidence of person-to-person transmission of Vibrio vulnificus.
Healthy individuals typically develop a mild disease; however Vibrio vulnificus infections can be a serious concern for people who have weakened immune systems, particularly those with chronic liver disease. The bacterium can invade the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness with symptoms like fever, chills, decreased blood pressure (septic shock) and blistering skin lesions. Vibrio vulnificus bloodstream infections are fatal about 50 percent of the time. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page