Vibriosis and Shellfish

Vibrio bacteria live naturally in coastal waters. Some Vibrio species can infect a person’s gastrointestinal system, skin, or bloodstream, causing a disease called vibriosis.

People can get vibriosis by eating raw or undercooked seafood, mainly oysters, or by exposing a wound to seawater or drippings from raw seafood. The risk of getting infected is highest during warmer months when more Vibrio are in the water.

Vibrio can build up inside shellfish as the animals eat by filtering sea water to extract food.

CDC partners with state public health officials and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate clusters of vibriosis, which might indicate an outbreak. By working together to identify illnesses and their sources, the agencies can help prevent additional illnesses by getting seafood that has made people sick removed from the market and temporarily closing any related oyster beds.

Learn about other foodborne, waterborne, and fungal disease prevention priorities.

Vibriosis and Shellfish
Photo of raw oysters on a grill.