Vibrio parahaemolyticus

  Vibrio parahaemolyticus

I will bet you’ve never heard of this one! (VIB-ree-oh Par-uh-hee-moh-LIH-tuh-cus) If you’re reading about Vibrio because you’ve experienced it, then I’m sorry. Vibrio usually affects those with weakened immune systems the worst. These may include people with diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, cancer, AIDS, or other illnesses that weaken the immune system.

Vibrio can take anywhere from 4 to 90 hours to show symptoms, although about 18 hours is usual. The main symptom is diarrhea, which usually clears up on its own. More susceptible people may need to be hospitalized. Other symptoms might include cramps, nausea, vomiting or fever. The illness usually lasts from 2 to 6 days.

This illness is associated with seafood, but most often with uncooked oysters. Heat will kill the bacteria, so thorough cooking will prevent the disease. It seems to be more common in warmer months of the year, as the bacteria grow faster in warmer waters. You may have heard to avoid eating oysters in months that do not contain an “R”! (May through August) Bleach and commercial kitchen sanitizers will kill Vibrio, so good cleaning of kitchen surfaces after handling raw seafood is also a good prevention for Vibrio.