Oct 13, 2015

Central Florida Man Dies From Vibrio Vulnificus Bacteria Infection

By on 4:59 AM

A 56-year-old resident of Winter Haven is the latest Floridian to die from the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, according to local media reports, including TCPalm.

The victim contracted the disease after he want saltwater fishing. He was dead from the bacterial infection in three days.

As the Florida Department of Health  notes, Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that normally lives in warm seawater. It is part of a group of vibrios that are called "halophilic" because they require salt. Vibrio vulnificus is a naturally occurring bacteria in warm, brackish seawater.

While Vibrio vulnificus infections are rare, it has been responsible for at least a dozen deaths in 2015.

The Florida Department of Health  provides the following tips for preventing Vibrio vulnificus infections:
  • Do not eat raw oysters or other raw shellfish.
  • Cook shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels) thoroughly.
  • For shellfish in the shell, either a) boil until the shells open and continue boiling for five more minutes, or b) steam until the shells open and then continue cooking for nine more minutes. Do not eat those shellfish that do not open during cooking. Boil shucked oysters at least three minutes, or fry them in oil at least 10 minutes at 375°F.
  • Avoid cross-contamination of cooked seafood and other foods with raw seafood and juices from raw seafood.
  • Eat shellfish promptly after cooking and refrigerate leftovers.
  • Avoid exposure of open wounds or broken skin to warm salt or brackish water, or to raw shellfish harvested from such waters.
  • Wear protective clothing (e.g., gloves) when handling raw shellfish.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS), which is based in Delray Beach, Florida. Phenelle has more than 30 years experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes to implement and maintain an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission (TJC), Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies, respond to situations of noncompliance, and improve the processes for reducing risk.


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