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Vibrio vulnificus infection


Key sources

The following summarized guidelines for the evaluation and management of Vibrio vulnificus infection are prepared by our editorial team based on guidelines from the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL 2022), the Center for Disease Control (CDC 2020), the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST 2018), the Surgical Infection Society Europe (SIS-E/WSES 2018), the Korean ...
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Diagnostic investigations

Exposure history: as per Pathway 2023 guidelines, elicit recent history of exposures to potential sources of Vibrio vulnificus including:
eating raw or undercooked seafood (oysters or other shellfish)
contact with salt water or brackish water, including swimming, fishing, or walking on the beach
survivors of hurricanes, storm surges, or coastal flooding.
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  • Laboratory testing

  • Diagnostic imaging

Medical management

Management of gastroenteritis
As per CDC 2020 guidelines:
Do not offer treatment in mild cases. Advise drinking liquids to correct fluid loss from diarrhea.
Administer antibiotics in patients with severe illness.

More topics in this section

  • Management of cellulitis and necrotizing fasciitis

  • Management of sepsis

Therapeutic procedures

Negative pressure wound therapy: as per SIS-E/WSES 2018 guidelines, consider offering negative pressure wound therapy for wound care after complete removal of necrosis in patients with necrotizing soft tissue infection.

Surgical interventions

Surgical debridement: as per CDC 2020 guidelines, pay careful attention to the wound site. Perform aggressive debridement or amputation of the infected limb as clinically necessary: debride necrotic tissue; perform fasciotomy or limb amputation in severe cases.

Preventative measures

Primary prevention: as per EASL 2022 guidelines, advise patients with hemochromatosis and iron overload to avoid direct handling and consumption of raw or undercooked shellfish and wound exposure to seawater since the Vibrio vulnificus is a siderophilic pathogen.