Mississippi State Department of Health

Vibrio Infections


Vibrio vulnificus and other Vibrio bacteria live in warm coastal waters. Vibrio bacteria can cause illness when an open wound is exposed to coastal waters, or when a person eats contaminated seafood.

Eating raw shellfish – especially oysters – contaminated with Vibrio may cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Individuals with compromised immune systems, particularly those with chronic liver disease, are also likely to develop a bloodstream infection with fever and chills, blistering skin lesions and possibly death.

Who is at Risk

Anyone can get sick from vibriosis, but you may be more likely to get an infection or severe complications if:

Precautions to Take

If you are in a group at higher risk for severe infection

Cooking Oysters Safely

Before cooking, discard any shellfish with open shells.

In the shell

For shellfish in the shell, either:

  • Boil until the shells open and continue boiling 5 more minutes, or
  • Steam until the shells open and continue steaming for 9 more minutes.

Only eat shellfish that open during cooking. Discard shellfish that do not open fully after cooking.


For shucked oysters, either:

  • Boil for at least 3 minutes,
  • Fry in oil for at least 3 minutes at 375° Fahrenheit,
  • Broil 3 inches from heat for 3 minutes, or
    bake at 450° Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

More Information

Links referenced on this page
Cooking tips    https://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/prevention.html
wash your hands    http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/
About proper handwashing    http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/
Mississippi beachwater monitoring    https://opcgis.deq.state.ms.us/beaches/
Vibrio information from the CDC    https://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/

Find this page at http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/index.cfm

print  close