Fatal case of Vibrio vulnificus infection under investigation

Hong Kong (HKSAR) - The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a fatal case of Vibrio vulnificus infection involving an 80-year-old man with chronic illness.

The man developed fever and symptoms of vomiting, neck pain and right facial swelling on September 30. He was admitted to Tuen Mun Hospital the following day and was noted as having facial bruises and swelling around his right eye. His condition later deteriorated and he passed away on October 2.

His blood specimen taken during admission cultured positive for Vibrio vulnificus.

The CHP's investigation revealed that the man was injured by a crab on September 30.

His home contact was asymptomatic. The investigation is continuing.

The case has been referred to the Coroner for further investigation.

The public is reminded to adopt the following measures to prevent 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 and 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.

Published on: 2012-10-05

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