As of June 24, 2022, the Florida Department of Health confirmed 13 cases (2 deaths) of Vibrio vulnificus infection. In 2021, Florida reported 34 cases and 10 deaths. Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that normally lives in warm seawater. Infections with Vibrio vulnificus are rare. If saltwater is swallowed or shellfish or mussels are eaten, the bacteria can be ingested and lead to gastroenteritis. If the bacteria enter the body through small skin lesions (e.g., injuries to coral or fish spines), there is a risk of fulminant sepsis, especially in immunocompromised individuals or those with chronic liver or kidney disease, diabetes, or iron storage disease. The bacterium is inactivated by cooking or freezing.
- Do not eat raw oysters or other raw shellfish.
- Cook shellfish (oysters, clams and mussels) thoroughly.
- Consume seafood immediately after cooking and refrigerate leftovers.
- Avoid contact of open wounds or injured skin with warm salt or brackish water or with raw shellfish originating from such waters.