This is a less well known form of food poisoning which occurs as a result of eating contaminated seafood, in particular raw oysters. This causes a gastrointestinal type of illness which is as equally as unpleasant as any other form of food poisoning.
The vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria
These bacteria have a slightly curved, rod shaped appearance and are found in contaminated seawater. They build up within several species of fish and seafood and enter the human food chain as a result of consumption.
These bacteria can also enter the human body when contaminated water comes into contact with a cut or open wound, or from swimming in infected areas.
Causes of vibrio parahaemolyticus poisoning
This can occur for the following reasons:
- Contact with water which has been contaminated by infected faeces.
- Failure to wash the hands properly after contact with someone who is already infected.
- Not washing the hands properly after going to the toilet
- Eating raw or undercooked fish or seafood
The main cause of this food poisoning is eating raw or undercooked seafood. Seafood is a high risk factor for many types of food poisoning, often due to the fact that it lives in waters which can easily become infected by bacteria and other toxins.
Types of fish and seafood infected by these bacteria
These bacteria are found in tuna, sardines, mackerel, squid and crab. They also appear in clams and oysters.
Symptoms of vibrio parahaemolyticus poisoning
These symptoms appear within 24 hours of the initial exposure to these bacteria and include:
- Fever (occasional)
- Abdominal pains
Diarrhoea is the noticeable symptom here and is often explosive and watery in appearance.
This illness usually resolves itself within two to three days following home based treatment. But, it will take longer in people who are categorised as a ‘high risk’.
High risk groups include young children, the elderly and people undergoing treatment or suffering from a disease which has compromised their immune system.
This means that their immune systems are less efficient at fighting diseases or infections.
If you are classed as at high risk then be aware that your recovery will take longer than normal.
Treatment for vibrio parahaemolyticus poisoning
This is treatable at home although serious cases may require hospital care.
Treatment for this includes drinking plenty of fluids such as water in order to replace those lost as a result of this illness. This will reduce the risk of dehydration.
Boost this by adding a sachet of electrolyte salts to these fluids. These are available at a local pharmacy and can be added to a glass of water or some other type of drink. They contain vitamins and minerals which are vital for everyday health as well as enabling you to re-hydrate.
Preventing vibrio parahaemolyticus poisoning
Both fish and seafood are a high risk for food poisoning. If you like both of these then ensure that they have been completely thawed out before use. Also ensure that they are cooked thoroughly and at the correct temperature before you eat them.
Raw oysters can also be problematic. You can eat oysters in a raw state but be aware that doing so increases the risk of food poisoning. They tend to contain bacteria, many of which are pathogenic which means that they cause infection when consumed.
Food Poisoning Guide
- Food Poisoning
- What is food poisoning?
- Food poisoning or gastroenteritis?
- High risk for food poisoning
- Foods which are likely to cause food poisoning
- Types of food poisoning
- Chicken food poisoning
- Beef food poisoning
- Pork food poisoning
- Fish food poisoning
- Ciguatera poisoning
- Scombroid poisoning
- Bacterial food poisoning
- E coli
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Clostridium botulinum
- Campylobacter jejuni
- Vibrio parahaemolyticus
- Vibrio cholerae
- Bacillus cereus
- Clostridium perfringens
- Yersinia Enterocolitica
- Enterobacter sakazakii
- Viral food poisoning
- Entamoeba histolytica
- Mushroom toxins
- Red kidney bean toxins
- Shellfish toxins
- Causes of food poisoning
- Symptoms of food poisoning
- Diagnosing food poisoning
- Treatment for food poisoning
- Home based treatment
- Medical treatment
- Follow up treatment
- Complications of food poisoning
- Lactose intolerance
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Kidney failure
- Haemolytic uraemic syndrome
- Reactive arthritis
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Reporting food poisoning
- Preventing food poisoning
- Cross contamination
- Food irradiation
- Food safety and your family
- Pregnancy and food poisoning
- Babies and food poisoning
- Children and food poisoning
- Teenagers and food poisoning
- Elderly and food poisoning
- Research into food poisoning
- Food Poisoning FAQs