Non-cholera Vibrio species are uncommon but important enteric bacterial pathogens, causing an estimated 8,000 infections, 185 hospitalizations, and 57 deaths in the United States (US) each year. Vibrio species are natural inhabitants of marine coastal and estuarine environments, and their populations increase dramatically during the warm summer months. In the US, V. parahaemolyticus is the most commonly reported Vibrio infection, but V. vulnificus is associated with severe morbidity and mortality.
Consuming raw, undercooked, or cross-contaminated seafood, especially shellfish, is the most common cause of non-cholera vibriosis, but exposing wounds to contaminated warm seawater can also cause skin or soft tissue Vibrio infection. There is no national Healthy People 2010 target objective for non-cholera vibriosis.
V. parahaemolyticus infection causes acute gastroenteritis with fever that usually occurs after an incubation period of 24 hours. Symptoms usually last 1 to 7 days and are often self-limited. In contrast, V. vulnificus causes septicemia in persons with immunocompromising conditions, chronic liver disease, and alcoholism. Fifty percent of such patients with septicemia die, and the case-fatality rate exceeds 90% among patients who become hypotensive.