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CDC Issues Health Advisory for Vibrio vulnificus Infections

Faridat Animashaun
September 6, 2023

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sept. 1 notified health care providers, laboratories, and public health departments about fatal Vibrio vulnificus (V. vulnificus) infections in the United States and issued reporting guidelines and clinical recommendations.

Infection can occur from consuming raw or undercooked shellfish or exposing a wound to coastal waters, which Vibrio inhabit. CDC has observed a rise in V. vulnificus infections in the Eastern United States, particularly during summer 2023 when there were above-average coastal sea surface temperatures. The advisory outlines guidelines for diagnosing and treating these infections.

CDC recommends that health care providers:

  • Consider V. vulnificus as a possible cause of infection in wounds exposed to coastal waters.
  • Send all known or suspected V. vulnificus isolates to a local, state, territorial, or tribal public health laboratory.
  • Promptly initiate antibiotic therapy or surgical intervention before consultation or laboratory confirmation of infection.

Additionally, health care providers are required to report all cases to their local, state, territorial or tribal health department. Email EntericBacteria@cdc.gov with questions.

Contact Director of Policy Rob Nelb, MPH, at rnelb@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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