Causes and Symptoms of Vibrio Infection

Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium in the same family as those that cause cholera. It lives in brackish saltwater and causes gastrointestinal illness in humans.

V. parahaemolyticus naturally inhabits coastal waters in the United States and Canada and is present in higher concentrations during summer.

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Duration of Illness
Fact Sheet


Symptoms include:

  • watery diarrhea
  • abdominal cramping
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever and chills

Usually these symptoms begin within 24 hours of exposure.

Duration of Illness

  • Illness is usually self-limited and lasts approximately 3 days.


Severe disease is rare and occurs more commonly in persons with weakened immune systems.

V. parahaemolyticus can also cause an infection of the skin when an open wound is exposed to warm seawater.


Most people become infected by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters.

Fact Sheet

Do you suspect that you have a foodborne illness? Visit reporting suspected foodborne illnesses.

Updated Wednesday, 17-Nov-2010 12:34:00 CST