There have been 4 documented cases of Vibrio vulnificus infection in Mobile County, AL in 2017 to date, according to the Mobile County Health Department.
Officials note that three of the four cases occurred in Mobile County waters. The first case involved a Mobile County resident who consumed raw oysters in another state in March.
The second incident took place in April, and involved the consumption of raw oysters in Mobile County. Confirmation of the presence of Vibrio was received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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The two most recent cases took place during June and came from exposure to a wound while in bodies of waters near Dauphin Island, the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay.
Vibrio vulnificus can cause disease in those who eat contaminated seafood or have an open wound that is exposed to warm seawater containing the bacteria. Ingestion of Vibrio vulnificus can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Vibrio vulnificus can also cause an infection of the skin when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater; these infections may lead to skin breakdown and ulcers.
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.