The number of Vibrio vulnificus cases in Florida increased by two as state health officials report new cases of the bacterial disease in Pasco County and a fatal case in Brevard County, according to updated data published Friday.

Florida map/National Atlas of the United States
Florida map/National Atlas of the United States

The Brevard case brings the state death tally due to V. vulnificus to six, while the total number of cases reported in 2014 to date rises to 28.

Vibriosis (“vibrio”) is a rare but potentially dangerous infection associated with swimming in natural waters, particularly warm bodies of salt or brackish water, or from eating contaminated seafood (usually raw or undercooked oysters).

Among healthy people, ingestion of V. vulnificus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.  Most V. vulnificus infections are acute and have no long-term consequences.

Related: Florida health officials try to clear up Vibrio myths

In immunocompromised persons, particularly those with chronic liver disease, V. vulnificus can invade the bloodstream from either a wound or from the GI tract, causing a severe and life-threatening illness called primary septicemia, characterized by fever, chills, septic shock and death. Blistering skin lesions accompany the disease in about 70% of the cases. V. vulnificus bloodstream infections are fatal about 50% of the time.

These individuals are 80-200 times more likely to develop V. vulnificus primary septicemia than are healthy people. For this particular risk group, the infection carries one of the highest mortality rates of all bacterial infections. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

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