Seafood poisoning – United States

Since the beginning of the year, health officials in Florida have detected 10 cases and 4 deaths of Vibrio vulnificus.

Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea and abdominal pain. These are worse in patients who are experiencing chronic liver failure. THe disease is contracted by eating contaminated seafood or having an open wound exposed to contaminated warm sea water.

10 cases so far this year and 4 deaths.

Photo: Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium in the same family as those that cause cholera. Electron micrograph.

Seafood poisoning is the result of ingestion of Vibrio bacteria in raw or undercooked seafood, usually oysters. It is the is the predominant cause of the acute gastroenteritis caused by bacteria associated with consumption of seafood.

Symptoms are an explosive watery or bloody diarrhea accompanied by vomiting, cramps and sometimes fever. The symptoms usually resolve withing 72 hours.

Outbreaks tend to be concentrated along coastal regions during the summer and early fall when higher water temperatures favor higher levels of bacteria. Seafood most often implicated includes squid, mackerel, tuna, sardines, crab, conch, shrimp, and oysters and clams.

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