People who develop wound infections from Vibrio vulnificus usually do not have any other medical conditions. These infections may begin with redness and swelling at the site of the wound and can then progress to affect the whole body.
For people who develop sepsis from Vibrio vulnificus, transmission most often occurs from eating raw oysters (or other shellfish contaminated with the bacteria) during the summer months.
For people who develop wound infections from Vibrio vulnificus, transmission usually occurs through direct contact with seawater, shellfish, and marine wildlife found in warm waters. There is no evidence of person-to-person transmission.
When a person becomes infected with Vibrio vulnificus, the bacteria begin to multiply within the body. After one to three days (or as late as seven days), symptoms can occur. The period between becoming infected and the start of Vibrio vulnificus symptoms is called the incubation period.
Symptoms of Vibrio vulnificus infection vary based on the type of illness (sepsis or wound infection).
Symptoms of sepsis can include:
- Body aches
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Blood-tinged, blistering skin lesions.
These symptoms are sudden and can result in a rapid decline in health following exposure.
Symptoms of a wound infection include swelling, redness, and pain at the site of the wound, and can progress to affect the whole body (cellulitis). Blood-tinged, blistering skin lesions can also occur. In addition, fever is common.