Protecting and Promoting the One Health of Galveston County
Zach Davidson Chairman, United Board of Health Philip Keiser, MD Local Health Authority Chief Executive Officer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 08, 2023
Severe Vibrio Vulnificus Connected to Warm Coastal Waters Galveston County, Texas- The Galveston County Health District regrets to inform residents of a death due to Vibrio vulnificus (V. vulnificus.). Vibrio is a bacterium that naturally lives in coastal waters, including warm, salt water and brackish water, which is a mixture of salt water and fresh water. Individuals get infected with Vibrio by consuming raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters. Some get infected through exposure to salt water or brackish water through an open wound. Vibrio infections are rare and usually occur in people who have underlying health conditions including such as liver disease, immunosuppression, or diabetes. Because of unusually warm ocean temperatures this year, the number of vibrio infections in the United States is increasing.
On Friday, September 1st , The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Public Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory to notify the public, laboratories, and public health departments about the recent reports of fatal infections, including wound and foodborne infections. Signs and symptoms of Vibrio Vulnificus include, but are not limited to diarrhea, stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, cellulitis (a red, painful rash on the skin) and blistering lesions.
The resident who died in Galveston County was a male, within the thirty-to-forty-year age range and had underlying health conditions that predisposed him to vibrio infection. He had recently eaten raw oysters. Individuals that are immune suppressed, have liver disease, and or diabetes should refrain from consuming raw shellfish and recreating in coastal waters. If you experience any of the previously mentioned symptoms after consuming undercooked shellfish such as oysters and clams, or after recreating in coastal areas, please consult with your doctor.