MSDH confirms Vibrio case in Forrest County

MSDH confirms Vibrio case in Forrest County

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Mississippi State Department of Health confirms a Forrest County resident has the second state's second case of Vibrio vulnificus of 2016.

Liz Sharlot with MSDH said she could not give any details about the person with the infection, but did confirm the person contracted the bacteria in Mississippi gulf waters.

According to the CDC, most people are infected by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, especially oysters. Ingesting the bacteria can cause digestive tract problems, like diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills that last for about three days.

Vibrio bacteria can also cause skin infections if cuts or wounds are exposed to brackish or salt water.

Sharlot urges anyone with a cut or wound to stay out of brackish water until the injury heals.

The CDC estimates 80,000 people in the United States get vibriosis every year, and 100 people die from their infection. MSDH said people with liver disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV or thalassemia, who receive immune-suppressing therapy for the treatment of disease, take medicine to decrease stomach acid levels or have had recent stomach surgery are at higher risk for serious illness if they come in contact with the bacteria.

"Individuals with compromised immune systems, particularly those with chronic liver disease, are also likely to develop a bloodstream infection with fever and chills, blistering skin lesions and possibly death," according to the MSDH website.

However, Sharlot emphasized healthy people can contract an infection as well.

The best ways to reduce your risk for infection:

  • Don’t eat raw or undercooked oysters or other shellfish. Cook them before eating.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water after handing 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 wound 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Sharlot said this is the time of year the department expects to see cases, with the CDC saying 80 percent of cases happening between May and October.