Vibriosis (infection with Vibrio): For health professionals

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What health professionals need to know about vibriosis

Vibrio exist worldwide in marine and coastal waters. They are part of the natural flora of bivalve shellfish, particularly during seasons where water temperatures are warmer.

Infection with Vibrio species (other than those that cause cholera) have been associated with sporadic illness and outbreaks in Canada. Outbreaks in Canada have been associated with eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters.

Species of Vibrio known to cause illness in humans include:

Clinical symptoms

Vibrio parahaemolyticus

Vibrio vulnificus

Vibrio alginolyticus

Other Vibrio

This category includes other Vibrio that cause vibriosis, such as V. cholera other than O1 and O139, V. mimicus and non-toxigenic V. cholera O1.


Vibrio infection is transmitted via:

Vibrio infection is not transmitted person-to-person.


Patients may present with any of the symptoms outlined above. When trying to establish a diagnosis, consider sources of exposure as well as individual risk factors.

Laboratory diagnosis is achieved by isolating the pathogen from clinical specimens of:

There are no serodiagnostic or rapid tests for vibriosis.


Rehydration is the primary treatment for gastrointestinal infections with Vibrio.

Antibiotic treatment is recommended for:

Debridement or amputation may be necessary for severely infected wounds.


Infections with Vibrio species (other than those that cause cholera) are not nationally notifiable diseases.

Canada uses the National Enteric Surveillance Program (NESP) to monitor the national incidence of infections caused by Vibrio species.

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