Vibrio spp. infections

Craig Baker-Austin, James D. Oliver, Munirul Alam, Afsar Ali, Matthew K. Waldor, Firdausi Qadri, Jaime Martinez-Urtaza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

467 Citations (Scopus)


Vibrio is a genus of ubiquitous bacteria found in a wide variety of aquatic and marine habitats; of the >100 described Vibrio spp., ~12 cause infections in humans. Vibrio cholerae can cause cholera, a severe diarrhoeal disease that can be quickly fatal if untreated and is typically transmitted via contaminated water and person-to-person contact. Non-cholera Vibrio spp. (for example, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio alginolyticus and Vibrio vulnificus) cause vibriosis - infections normally acquired through exposure to sea water or through consumption of raw or undercooked contaminated seafood. Non-cholera bacteria can lead to several clinical manifestations, most commonly mild, self-limiting gastroenteritis, with the exception of V. vulnificus, an opportunistic pathogen with a high mortality that causes wound infections that can rapidly lead to septicaemia. Treatment for Vibrio spp. infection largely depends on the causative pathogen: for example, rehydration therapy for V. cholerae infection and debridement of infected tissues for V. vulnificus-associated wound infections, with antibiotic therapy for severe cholera and systemic infections. Although cholera is preventable and effective oral cholera vaccines are available, outbreaks can be triggered by natural or man-made events that contaminate drinking water or compromise access to safe water and sanitation. The incidence of vibriosis is rising, perhaps owing in part to the spread of Vibrio spp. favoured by climate change and rising sea water temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalNature Reviews Disease Primers
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Cite this