4 vibriosis cases reported in Mobile County

MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – Mobile County Health Department officials have confirmed that four cases of vibriosis have been discovered in Mobile County. According to health officials, three of the four people who contracted vibriosis had open wounds that were exposed to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Vibrio is a type of bacteria that lives in coastal waters and is mostly present between May and October when the water is warmer during the warmer months. Although Vibrio can enter the body through a break in the skin, it can also be contracted by eating contaminated seafood.

The Mobile County Health Department has advised that to avoid Vibrio bacteria you should do the following:

  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked shellfish and cook foods to recommended temperatures
  • Avoid exposure of open wounds (including cuts and scrapes) to salt and brackish water. If a person cuts themselves while in the water, immediately wash the wound with soap and cool water. If the wound shows signs of infection (redness, pain and/or swelling) or if the cut is deep, consult a doctor immediately.

Dr. Rendi Murphree of the Mobile County Health Department says Vibrio is not a contaminant but rather a natural species present in our waters.

“If you ingest Vibrio or eat seafood that contains Vibrio or shellfish, that’s usually the most common way, then you get a form of the disease, vomiting, watery diarrhea which can sometimes lead to more serious blood infections,” Murphrée said. “If you have a wound, cut or tear in your skin and that skin comes in contact with water containing bacteria, you can get a wound infection which can lead to something more serious, but the more often these are less severe.”

Dr. Murphree’s advice is not to enter the waters with scratches and wounds and to consider consuming steamed oysters, especially if you have a weakened immune system.

Four cases have been reported to the health department throughout 2021.


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