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Vibrio Vulnificus Infection Treatment & Management

  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
 
Updated: Jun 06, 2016
 

Medical Care

Antibiotics are necessary to eradicate the infection (see Medication). In case of wound infection, aggressive debridement is necessary to remove necrotic tissue. If the patient is in shock, perform necessary interventions to resuscitate the patient. V vulnificus as the etiologic agent of necrotizing fasciitis requires emergency approaches to treat potential septic shock and multiple organ failure,[20] particularly in those with preexisting medical complications, including hypotension, lactic acidosis, coagulation disorders, and thrombocytopenia.[21]

Available guidelines that may be helpful include the Practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of skin and soft-tissue infections from the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Diagnosis and management of foodborne illnesses: a primer for physicians and other health care professionals from the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Nurses Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, US Food and Drug Administration, Food Safety and Inspection Service, and US Department of Agriculture.[22, 23]

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Consultations

Because many patients with V vulnificus infection experience overwhelming sepsis, consultation with an infectious disease specialist is warranted. Consider consultation with an infectious disease specialist if the diagnosis is unclear or if the patient has atypical symptoms or does not respond to antibiotic treatment.

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Activity

No restrictions are necessary.

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Complications

Patients who are immunocompromised are at risk of septic shock from the infection, which can be fatal. Otherwise, no complications from V vulnificus infection occur.

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Prevention

To prevent infection from V vulnificus, persons should avoid exposure to raw shellfish or thoroughly cook the shellfish. Persons should avoid cross-contamination of cooked shellfish with uncooked shellfish and eat shellfish promptly after cooking. Shellfish is best served hot.[24]

Identifying oysters that are affected by V vulnificus is difficult because the appearance, taste, color, and odor of the oysters are not affected. Through improved reporting of affected oysters, oyster beds that are affected can be identified and closed.[25]

Persons should avoid exposure of open wounds or broken skin to raw shellfish or infected waters. Patients who are immunocompromised should be especially careful to follow these guidelines because they are more susceptible to infection and complications.

Therapeutic vaccination against V vulnificus infection by active and passive immunization with the C-terminal region of the RtxA1/MARTXVv protein has been suggested by studies in mice.[26]

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH Professor and Head of Dermatology, Professor of Pathology, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Visiting Professor, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, New York Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Cris Jagar, MD Staff Physician, Department of Psychiatry, Trinitas Regional Medical Center

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

David F Butler, MD Section Chief of Dermatology, Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System; Professor of Dermatology, Texas A&M University College of Medicine; Founding Chair, Department of Dermatology, Scott and White Clinic

David F Butler, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, Alpha Omega Alpha, Association of Military Dermatologists, American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Society for MOHS Surgery, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Jeffrey P Callen, MD Professor of Medicine (Dermatology), Chief, Division of Dermatology, University of Louisville School of Medicine

Jeffrey P Callen, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, American College of Rheumatology

Disclosure: Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: XOMA; Biogen/IDEC; Novartis; Janssen Biotech, Abbvie, CSL pharma<br/>Received honoraria from UpToDate for author/editor; Received honoraria from JAMA Dermatology for associate editor and intermittent author; Received royalty from Elsevier for book author/editor; Received dividends from trust accounts, but I do not control these accounts, and have directed our managers to divest pharmaceutical stocks as is fiscally prudent from Stock holdings in various trust accounts include some pharmaceutical companies and device makers for i inherited these trust accounts; for: Celgene; Pfizer; 3M; Johnson and Johnson; Merck; Abbott Laboratories; AbbVie; Procter and Gamble; Amgen.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Craig A Elmets, MD Professor and Chair, Department of Dermatology, Director, Chemoprevention Program Director, Comprehensive Cancer Center, UAB Skin Diseases Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine

Craig A Elmets, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Association of Immunologists, American College of Physicians, American Federation for Medical Research, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: University of Alabama at Birmingham; University of Alabama Health Services Foundation<br/>Serve(d) as a speaker or a member of a speakers bureau for: Ferndale Laboratories<br/>Received research grant from: NIH, Veterans Administration, California Grape Assn<br/>Received consulting fee from Astellas for review panel membership; Received salary from Massachusetts Medical Society for employment; Received salary from UpToDate for employment. for: Astellas.

References
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