Vibrio vulnificus Wound Infections From the Mississippi Gulf Coastal Waters: June to August 1993


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Abstract

Vibrio vulnificus, part of the normal marine flora of the Gulf of Mexico, is being increasingly recognized as an important human pathogen. V vulnificus contamination of superficial wounds can cause a severe, rapidly progressive, necrotizing cellulitio with bullous skin lesions that may require surgical debridement and is occasionally fatal. We summarize information about six cases of V vulnificus wound infection reported to the Mississippi State Department of Health from June to August 1993. Five of the six patients required hospitalization for intravenous antibiotic treatment and, in two cases, surgery. Two patients died from septicemia, despite aggressive antibiotic treatment; both had preexisting medical conditions that could have contributed to immune compromise and fulminant infection. This report underscores the virulence of this organism and the need for awareness by both the clinician and diagnostic laboratory personnel when dealing with superficial wounds occupationally or recreationally exposed to seawater.

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