Vibrio vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus necrotising fasciitis in fishermen visiting an estuarine tropical northern Australian location

J Infect. 2007 Mar;54(3):e111-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2006.06.015. Epub 2006 Aug 7.


Three cases of severe necrotising fasciitis due to Vibrio vulnificus (two cases) and Vibrio parahaemolyticus (one case, fatal), have occurred in Caucasian tourists while fishing at a remote tropical northern Australian estuarine area. Infections were acquired over a 4-year period during the tourist fishing season (April to July 2000-2003), when water temperatures range from 23 to 30 degrees C. They are notable for their geographical clustering in the remote western aspect of the Gulf of Carpentaria, an area characterised by sedimentary stratiform zinc-lead-silver deposits and a major mining operation. Patients presented with classical bullous cellulitis with necrotising fasciitis, accompanied by severe sepsis. Underlying risk factors were identified in each patient; in one instance, previously unrecognised haemochromatosis was diagnosed. Likely reasons for Vibrio occurrence in this particular ecological niche are discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Fasciitis, Necrotizing / microbiology*
  • Fasciitis, Necrotizing / pathology
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sepsis / microbiology
  • Skin Diseases, Vesiculobullous / microbiology
  • Vibrio Infections / microbiology*
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus / isolation & purification*
  • Vibrio vulnificus / isolation & purification*