Vibrio death reported in Hillsborough County, 3rd fatality in Florida this year - Outbreak News Today | Outbreak News Today Outbreak News Today
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The Florida Department of Health (FLDOH) reported yesterday a fatal case of Vibrio vulnificus infection in Hillsborough County on the state’s west coast. This represents the third V. vulnificus-related death in the state and the ninth case of 2015.

Hillsborough County, Florida Image/David Benbennick

Hillsborough County, Florida
Image/David Benbennick

Last year, Hillsborough County saw three cases and no fatalities. Statewide, there were 32 cases and 7 deaths reported in Florida in 2014.

According to the FLDOH, 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.A recent study showed that people with these pre-existing medical conditions were 80 times more likely to develop Vibrio vulnificus bloodstream infections than healthy people. Wound infections may also be serious in people with weakened immune systems. The wound may heal poorly and require surgery. Sometimes amputation may even be needed for recovery.

Related: Florida reports Vibrio vulnificus deaths in Brevard and Marion counties

6 Comments

  1. I wish the media would give more attention to the risk of this bacteria to fishermen. My husband of 35 yrs died in 2013 after coming in contact with this vicious bacteria while we were crabbing and shrimping along the Halifax River in Volusia County, FL. He had NO KNOWN CUTS on him. We did however come in contact with ants of which we both got bites from. The hospital verified that it was possible that the bacteria could have entered his bloodstream though those bites. It is also possible that he could have ingested it from cast netting. He like so many would put one of the weights in his mouth when throwing the net. I am at a loss as to why there is little to no focus on the rivers and tributary waters. I believe that there is a much higher risk to people who use these waters than those who swim in the ocean. The media seams to be looking for the “shark in the water” effect they get from their ratings by focusing on the ocean. On the other hand government officals are focusing on the opposite because they are terrified of how this will effect tourism. So they play it down. I am absolutely not trying to keep people from coming to Florida or to stop recreational activities like fishing by any means. I will still enjoy the waters here and I know that’s exactly the way my husband would have wanted it. I truly want people to come here and enjoy what Florida has to offer. I only want everyone to know what risks are here and how to take precautions to avoid them. We are both native Floridians yet never once heard about this bacteria. The initial sign of this looked like a spider or bug bite. He told me it felt like a bad burn. If you have been in the water and see or feel anything like this go to the emergency room immediately and tell them where you were and what you were doing prior to seeing this on your body. They will most likely know exactly what it is and be able to treat it. DO NOT WAIT! Time is your enemy! I’m hoping that by telling my story it will save a life somewhere.

  2. […] Related: Vibrio death reported in Hillsborough County, 3rd fatality in Florida this year […]

  3. […] Just a week after reports of a Vibrio vulnificus fatality in a Hillsborough County resident who contracted the lethal bacterial infection in Mississippi, the Florida Department of Health has reported the second case and death in a resident of the west-central Gulf coast county. The identification of this case has not been released. […]

  4. […] Just a week after reports of a Vibrio vulnificus fatality in a Hillsborough County resident who contracted the lethal bacterial infection in Mississippi, the […]

  5. […] Just a week after reports of a Vibrio vulnificus fatality in a Hillsborough County resident who contracted the lethal bacterial infection in Mississippi, the […]

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