Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection - including symptoms, treatment and prevention
Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium found in marine, coastal and tidal waters, and most commonly causes gastroenteritis (gastro)
Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium found in marine, coastal and tidal waters, and most commonly causes gastroenteritis (gastro).
Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection is a notifiable condition1
Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection can be acquired by eating raw or undercooked shellfish or drinking contaminated water. Eating raw oysters is the most common way the infection is spread as the organism naturally lives in the warm tidal waters where oysters grow. Eating raw or undercooked fish and crustaceans, such as crabs and lobsters, has also been associated with food-borne outbreaks of this infection.
Less commonly, the organism causes wound infections when seawater contaminates open wounds.
V. parahaemolyticus does not usually spread from person to person, however, person-to-person spread is possible if there is poor personal hygiene.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection causes symptoms of gastro including:
Symptoms usually occur within 24 hours of eating the contaminated food.
Usually symptoms are mild to moderate in severity and lasts around 3 days (range from 8 hours to 12 days). However, the infection can be severe in people with immunosuppression, such as people receiving cancer treatment.
Where V. parahaemolyticus infects a wound, symptoms around the wound may include:
Diagnosis is made by testing of faeces, wound swab or other clinical specimens.
(time between becoming infected and developing symptoms)
Usually around 24 hours but can be between 4 to 96 hours.
(time during which an infected person can infect others)
V. parahaemolyticus does not usually spread from person to person.
Antibiotic treatment is not usually needed for V. parahaemolytiticus gastro, however, in cases with prolonged diarrhoea, antibiotic therapy may be needed.
The following are general recommendations for the treatment of gastro:
Seek medical advice if wound infection is suspected. Wound infections should be treated with antibiotics. Also seek medical advice if any of the following symptoms develop:
Infections with V. parahaemolyticus can be prevented by the following measures:
1 – In South Australia the law requires doctors and laboratories to report some infections or diseases to SA Health. These infections or diseases are commonly referred to as 'notifiable conditions'.