April 10, 2023
Cases of vibriosis confirmed in Mobile County
MOBILE, Ala. — There has been a total of three cases of vibriosis reported to the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) during 2023. These cases have been investigated by MCHD’s Infectious Disease and Outbreaks division. One of those cases reported injuries that were exposed to waters connected to the Gulf of Mexico.
Because of patient privacy rights under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), no additional identifying information will be available to the public.
“We have had a number of cases since the first of the year,” said Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer of Mobile County. “We expect more as the season goes on and the water becomes warmer.”
Vibrio bacteria naturally live in certain coastal waters and are present in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer. However, the bacteria can be present throughout the year in some areas. While Vibrio bacteria can enter the body through a break in the skin, it can also come from consuming contaminated seafood.
• Avoid eating raw or undercooked shellfish. Cook foods to recommended temperatures.
• Avoid exposure of open wounds (including cuts and scrapes) to salt and brackish waters.
If a person gets a cut while in the water, immediately wash the wound with soap and fresh water. If the wound shows any signs of infection (redness, pain, and/or swelling) or the cut is deep, seek medical attention immediately.
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has issued a flyer, “Prevention and Control Measures: Vibriosis (non-Cholera causing species),” for students, parents, and patients to learn more about Vibrio.
Of the more than 70 species of Vibrio that exist, about a dozen can cause human illness — known as vibriosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that annually in the United States, 80,000 individuals become sick with vibriosis, and 100 die from their infection.
During 2022, there were six cases of vibriosis reported to MCHD.