Confirmed Vibrio Case in Nueces County

Vibrio Bacteria Levels Higher Between May and October

City of Corpus Christi seal, Public Health logo and County of Nueces seal

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – The Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District confirmed the first case of Vibrio Alginolyticus in Nueces County for 2023. This is a common type of Vibrio bacteria caused by eating raw or uncooked shellfish or exposing an open wound to salt or brackish water. Brackish water is a mixture of fresh and seawater. It is often found where rivers meet the sea.

The patient, a male between the age of 40 and 50, reported an insect bite that became infected after swimming in the ocean. Following this, the patient reported an additional insect bite that developed an infection. Measures were taken to fight the infection, and the patient was provided with wound care information.

Vibrio bacteria naturally inhabit coastal waters where oysters live. These bacteria are 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, causing some people to become sick. Some species of vibrio can cause particularly severe and life-threatening infections.

Symptoms may include:

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

The Public Health District and the CDC advise residents to reduce the risk of vibriosis by following these tips:

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked oysters or other shellfish. Cook oysters and shellfish 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). Cover your wound with a waterproof bandage if there is a possibility of coming in contact with brackish or salt water. 
  • Wash wounds and cuts thoroughly with soap and water if exposed to seawater, raw seafood, or juices.
  • If you develop a skin infection, tell your medical provider if your skin has been in 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 levels.
  • Have had recent stomach surgery.
  • If you are in a group more likely to get vibriosis:
    • Wear clothes and shoes that protect you from cuts and scrapes when in brackish or salt water.
    • Wear protective gloves when handling raw seafood.

For more information, media representatives can contact the Health District Public Information Officer Brittany Claramunt at 361-826-7232 or email at