A number of illnesses, including cholera, are caused by the Vibrio family of bacteria. There are at least ten different types of this bacteria. The most common illnesses caused by the bacteria include gastrointestinal problems, soft tissue infections, and sepsis.

What Is Vibrio?

Vibrio is a family of bacteria that can cause a variety of illnesses in humans. The most famous form of Vibrio is Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera. Vibrio cholerae has been the cause of seven worldwide pandemics and countless deaths over the last couple of centuries.

Characteristics of Vibrio

All members of the Vibrio family are gram-negative bacteria. These bacteria are facultatively anaerobic, which means they can survive either with or without oxygen. Except for Vibrio cholerae and Vibrio mimicus, all require saltwater for growth. Vibrio species most commonly reside in tidal rivers and bays. Therefore, seawater and raw or undercooked shellfish are common infection routes for Vibrio. Vibrio infections are seasonal, with a peak in the late summer and early fall, coinciding with warm water temperatures that exceed 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). The species that can produce a potent toxin (poison) include:
  • Vibrio cholerae
  • Vibrio mimicus
  • Vibrio fluvialis.


At least ten human pathogens (bacteria) are known with the genus of Vibrio. Some of these include:


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