MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Officials with the Mobile County Health Department confirmed that four cases of Vibriosis have been found within Mobile County. According to health officials, three of the four people who have contracted Vibriosis have had open injuries that were exposed to the Gulf of Mexico waters.
Vibrio is a type of bacteria that lives in coastal waters and is mostly present between May and October when the water is warmer during the hotter months. Although Vibrio can enter the body through a break in the skin, it can also be contracted through eating contaminated seafood.
The Mobile County Health Department advised that in order to avoid Vibrio bacteria, you should do the following:
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked shellfish and cooking 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 if the cut is deep, seek medical attention immediately.
Dr.Rendi Murphree from Mobile County Health Department says Vibrio is not a contaminant but rather a natural species found in our waters.
“If you ingest the Vibrio or eat the seafood that has Vibrio in it or shellfish, usually that’s the most common way, then you get one form of the disease the vomiting, watery diarrhea sometimes that can lead to more serious bloodstream infections,” said Murphree. “If you have a wound or a cut or a break in your skin and that skin comes in contact with water that has the bacteria in it then you can get a wound infection that can lead to something more serious but most often those are less severe.”
Dr.Murphree’s advice is be mindful of entering waters with scratches and wounds and think about consuming steamed oysters, especially If you have a weakened immune system
Four cases were reported to the health department during the entirety of 2021.