Applied and Environmental Microbiology
The opportunistic pathogen Vibrio vulnificus occurs naturally in estuarine habitats and is readily cultured from water and oysters under warm conditions but infrequently at ambient conditions of <15°C. The presence of V. vulnificus in other habitats, such as sediments and aquatic vegetation, has been explored much less frequently. This study investigated the ecology of V. vulnificus in water by culture and quantitative PCR (qPCR) and in sediment, oysters, and aquatic vegetation by culture. V. vulnificus samples were taken from five sites around Tampa Bay, FL. Levels determined by qPCR and culture were significantly correlated (P = 0.0006; r = 0.352); however, V. vulnificus was detected significantly more frequently by qPCR (85% of all samples) compared to culture (43%). Culturable V. vulnificus bacteria were recovered most frequently from oyster samples (70%), followed by vegetation and sediment (∼50%) and water (43%). Water temperature, which ranged from 18.5 to 33.4°C, was positively correlated with V. vulnificus concentrations in all matrices but sediments. Salinity, which ranged from 1 to 35 ppt, was negatively correlated with V. vulnificus levels in water and sediments but not in other matrices. Significant interaction effects between matrix and temperature support the hypothesis that temperature affects V. vulnificus concentrations differently in different matrices and that sediment habitats may serve as seasonal reservoirs for V. vulnificus. V. vulnificus levels in vegetation have not been previously measured and reveal an additional habitat for this autochthonous estuarine bacterium.
Outbreak News Today
The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has reported an additional case of Vibriosis caused by the bacterium, Vibrio vulnificus in Pinellas County in the west-central part of the state. This is the fourth V. vulnificus case reported from Pinellas County this year.
This brings the state total to 32 cases and the death toll remains at seven.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium in the same family as those that cause cholera and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. It normally lives in warm seawater and is part of a group of vibrios that are called “halophilic” because they require salt.
Outbreak News Today
A newly reported Vibrio vulnificus case in Charlotte County, Florida, the county’s third case, brings the states total to 16, according to the latest numbers released from the Florida Department of Health today.
The total number of fatalities reported in the state remains unchanged at three. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page
People can get infected with Vibrio vulnificus when they eat raw shellfish, particularly oysters. The bacterium is frequently isolated from oysters and other shellfish in warm coastal waters during the summer months. Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater. There is no evidence of person-to-person transmission of Vibrio vulnificus.
Food Safety News
At least 27 Floridians have been sickened this year – and nine have died– from infections of Vibrio vulnificus, a deadly bacterium that lives in warm seawater and is commonly associated with eating raw oysters and other shellfish. The figure came from a news release published last week by the Florida Department of Health.
Posted in Bacteria, Food Hygiene, Food Illness, Food Inspections, Food Microbiology, Food Poisoning, Food Safety, Food Safety Alert, Food Testing, Foodborne Illness, Hygiene, Illness, Laboratory, Microbiology, Pathogen, Recall
Tagged deadly bacterium, Florida Department of Health, food safety news, Vibrio vulnificus