Vibrios are bacteria that occur naturally in estuarine and marine waters worldwide. Vibrio are in the same family of bacteria that cause cholera. There are over 80 species of Vibrio bacteria. Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio fluvialis, Vibrio mimicus, and Vibrio alginolyticus are some of the species known to cause infection when people are exposed by open wounds or punctures that occur while swimming, wading, crabbing, or fishing. Not all strains of Vibrios cause human illness.
How Can You Prevent Vibrio Infection?
The only way to prevent infection is to avoid contact with the water. However, the incidence of infection from swimming and other recreational activities in Maryland waters is relatively rare.
When water contact cannot be avoided:
- Cover wounds with waterproof bandages
- Carry hand sanitizer to swimming areas and when fishing or crabbing so that wounds that occur can be cleansed immediately or have ready access to soap and water
- Wear water shoes to avoid cuts and scrapes
- Always shower following swimming in natural waters and wash hands before handling food or eating.
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