Disease caused by a marine Vibrio. Clinical characteristics and epidemiology

N Engl J Med. 1979 Jan 4;300(1):1-5. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197901043000101.


We studied the clinical characteristics and epidemiology of disease associated with a rare, unnamed halophilic lactose-fermenting Vibrio species in 39 persons from whom the organism had been isolated. Two distinct clinical presentations were seen. In the first, the illness began with septicemia, often within 24 hours after raw oysters had been eaten; 18 of 24 such patients had pre-existing hepatic disease, and 11 of the 24 died. In the second, there was a wound infection after exposure to seawater or an injury incurred during the handling of crabs; none of these persons had pre-existing hepatic disease, and one of 15 died. Most cases (85 per cent) occurred during relatively warm months (May to October) in men (90 per cent) 40 or more years of age (95 per cent). This Vibrio species is a pathogen and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of septicemia with secondary skin lesions and of wound infections after exposure to seawater.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brachyura
  • Female
  • Foodborne Diseases / complications
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / complications
  • Male
  • Marine Biology*
  • Ostreidae
  • Sepsis / complications
  • United States
  • Vibrio / isolation & purification
  • Vibrio Infections / epidemiology
  • Vibrio Infections / etiology*
  • Wound Infection / complications