Atlas of foodborne infections
transmitted by contaminated food and water

Atlas of Patogens Contents Information sources Glossary Administration

Vibrio parahaemolyticus

CZ:
EN:

Occurrence:
Fish and Fish Products
Water and Beverages


Category:
Bacteria


Foodborne Disease:
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watery diarrhoea often with abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting fever and chills


Description:
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Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium in the same family as those that cause cholera. It lives in brackish saltwater and causes gastrointestinal illness in humans. V. parahaemolyticus is present in higher concentrations during summer; it is a halophilic, or salt-requiring organism. When ingested, V. parahaemolyticus causes watery diarrhoea often with abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting fever and chills. Usually these symptoms occur within 24 hours of ingestion. Illness is usually self-limited and lasts 3 days. Severe disease is rare and occurs more commonly in persons with weakened immune systems. V. parahaemolyticus can also cause an infection of the skin when an open wound is exposed to warm seawater. In Asia, V. parahaemolyticus is a common cause of food-borne disease. Most people become infected by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters. Less commonly, this organism can cause an infection in the skin when an open wound is exposed to warm seawater.

Vibrio organisms can be isolated from cultures of stool, wound, or blood. For isolation from stool, use of a selective medium that has thiosulfate, citrate, bile salts, and sucrose (TCBS agar) is recommended. If there is clinical suspicion for infection with this organism, the microbiology laboratory should be notified so that they will perform cultures using this medium. A physician should suspect V. parahaemolyticus infection if a patient has watery diarrhoea and has eaten raw or undercooked seafood, especially oysters, or when a woundinfection occurs after exposure to seawater.

Treatment is not necessary in most cases of V. parahaemolyticus infection. There is no evidence that antibiotic treatment decreases the severity or the length of the illness. Patients should drink plenty of liquids to replace fluids lost through diarrhoea. In severe or prolonged illnesses, antibiotics such as tetracycline, ampicillin or ciprofloxicin can be used.


Pictures:

Vibrio parahaemolyticus
Source: Vibrio parahaemolyticus

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