Additional new Vibrio vulnificus cases reported from Pinellas and Volusia counties brings Florida’s total cases for 2014 to 30, according to new data released by the Florida Department of Health this week.

The number of fatalities from V. vulnificus remained unchanged at 6.

This follows 2013, when the Sunshine State reported 41 cases and 11 deaths, the highest number of cases reported in the past six years.

Here is the breakdown of vibriosis cases and deaths from 2008-2012:

Cases Deaths
2008 15 5
2009 24 7
2010 32 10
2011 35 13
2012 27 9


According to the Todar’s Online Textbook of Bacteriology, V. vulnificus causes a disease with over a 50 percent mortality rate, and it causes 95 percent of all seafood-related deaths.

Vibrio vulnificus/CDC
Vibrio vulnificus/CDC

Vibrio vulnificus is an emerging pathogen of humans. It causes wound infections, gastroenteritis, or a syndrome known as primarysepticemia. It was first recognized as an agent of disease in 1976.  The first documented case of disease caused by the bacterium was in 1979.

V. vulnificus causes disease in individuals who eat contaminated seafood (usually raw or undercooked oysters) or have an open wound that is exposed to seawater. 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 calledprimary septicemia, characterized by fever, chills, septic shock and death. Blistering skin lesionsaccompany 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