HONG KONG: Two fatal cases of Vibrio vulnificus infection investigated
Posted: June 26th, 2012 - 10:14am
Source: Centre for Health Protection
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating two fatal cases of Vibrio vulnificus infection, with one of them causing necrotising fasciitis (flesh-eating disease). The case of necrotising fasciitis caused by Vibrio vulnificus affected a 48-year-old man with underlying medical conditions who lived in Shenzhen. He presented with fever, pain and swelling in both legs since June 16. He attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Pok Oi Hospital on June 17 and was transferred to Tuen Mun Hospital on the same day. His clinical diagnosis was necrotising fasciitis and bilateral above-knee amputations were performed. His condition continued to deteriorate and he passed away yesterday (June 19). The patient's blood culture grew Vibrio vulnificus and his tissue and wound swabs also detected Vibrio vulnificus. His home contact was asymptomatic. The investigation is continuing. The case of Vibrio vulnificus infection involved a 61-year-old man with chronic illness who lived in Yuen Long. He developed fever since June 16 and loss of consciousness on June 17. He was admitted to Pok Oi Hospital on the same day. His condition deteriorated and he passed away on June 18. His blood specimen taken during his admission yielded Vibrio vulnificus. The CHP's investigation revealed that the patient had consumed raw mantis shrimp. His home contact was asymptomatic. The investigation is continuing. The two cases have been referred to the Coroner for further investigation. People are reminded to adopt the following measures to prevent necrotising fasciitis and Vibrio vulnificus infection: * Avoid exposure of open wounds or broken skin to seawater or salty water; * Wounds should be thoroughly cleaned and properly covered; * Wear thick rubber gloves when handling raw shellfish; * Cook seafood, especially shellfish (e.g. oysters, clams, mussels) thoroughly; and * For shellfish, boil until the shells open and avoid cross-contamination of ready-to-eat food with raw seafood. Patients should seek medical advice promptly if they develop symptoms and signs of infection such as increasing redness, pain and swelling.