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Although oysters can be harvested legally only from waters free from fecal contamination, even legally harvested oysters can be contaminated with V. vulnificus because the bacterium is naturally present in marine environments. V. vulnificus does not alter the appearance, taste, or odor of oysters. Timely, voluntary reporting of V. vulnificus infections to CDC and to regional offices of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will help collaborative efforts to improve investigation of these infections. Regional FDA specialists with expert knowledge about shellfish assist state officials with tracebacks of shellfish and, when notified rapidly about cases, arez able to sample harvest waters to discover possible sources of infection and to close oyster beds when problems are identified. Ongoing research may help us to predict environmental or other factors that increase the chance that oysters carry pathogens.

Vibrio Vulnificus

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Symptoms:Chills, fever, and/or prostration. At high risk are people with liver conditions, low gastric (stomach) acid, and weakened immune systems.

SOURCES: The bacteria live in coastal waters and can infect humans either through open wounds or through consumption of contaminated seafood. The bacteria are most numerous in warm weather.



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