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Foods -- Seafood

What is Vibrio vulnificus

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Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that can be found in warm coastal waters. It is a naturally occurring organism and not the result of pollution. Concern for V. vulnificus exists because certain people who eat raw molluscan shellfish or expose open wounds to seawater can develop a severe and potentially fatal infection. Most people's immune systems are able to ward off infections associated with this organism; however, certain conditions put some individuals at higher risk. These conditions are liver disease, chronic alcohol use, cancer (especially if the person is taking anticancer drugs or radiation treatment), AIDS, Hodgkin's disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, the use of immunosuppressive drugs, achlorhydria (a condition which reduces normal stomach acidity), and any person taking drugs that reduce stomach acidity. Chances of an infection with Vibrio vulnificus are rare. However, if you are in a high-risk group, avoid raw seafood, especially raw molluscan shellfish.

SOURCE: Donn Ward, Ph.D., Joyce Taylor, and David Green, Ph.D., Department of Food Science, NC State University

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