Health District Advises Vibrio Reported in Nueces County

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - The Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District received a report of a Vibrio case in Nueces County.

According to health officials, the patient was an elderly individual that had skin tears and was wade fishing in the ocean. The patient presented to a local hospital with severe leg pain and classic signs of a bacterial infection. Measures were taken to fight the infection, including amputation but unfortunately the patient passed away within 24 to 36 hours of admission.

Vibrio bacteria naturally inhabit coastal waters where oysters live. These bacteria present in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer. The bacteria can enter the body through an open wound or by consuming raw or undercooked shellfish and can make some people sick and some Vibrio’s can cause particularly severe and life-threatening infections such as this particular case. Symptoms can include:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Severe Pain
  • Blistering skin lesions

Dr. William Burgin, Jr., Local Health Authority and the CDC advises residents to reduce your risk of vibriosis by following these tips:

  • Don’t eat raw or undercooked oysters or other shellfish. Cook them before eating.
  • Always wash your hands ( with soap and water after handling raw shellfish.
  • Avoid contaminating cooked shellfish with raw shellfish and its juices.
  • Stay out of brackish or salt water if you have a wound (including cuts and scrapes), or cover your pound with a waterproof bandage if there’s a possibility it could come into contact with brackish or salt water, raw seafood, or raw seafood juices.  Brackish water is a mixture of fresh and sea water. It is often found where rivers meet the sea.
  • Wash wounds and cuts thoroughly with soap and water if they have been exposed to seawater or raw seafood or its juices.
  • If you develop a skin infection, tell your medical provider if your skin has come into contact with brackish or salt water, raw seafood, or raw seafood juices.

Anyone can get sick from vibriosis, but you may be more likely to get an infection or severe complications if you:

  • Have liver disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV, or thalassemia
  • Receive immune-suppressing therapy for the treatment of disease.
  • Take medicine to decrease stomach acid level.
  • Have had recent stomach surgery
  • If you are in a group more likely to get vibriosis:
    • Wear clothes and shoes that can protect you from cuts and scrapes when in brackish or salt water.
    • Wear protective gloves when handling raw seafood

Media representatives contact Health District Education Specialist Noe Rodriguez at (361) 826- 7220 or by email at