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J Med Case Rep. 2011 May 6;5:171. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-5-171.

Vibrio parahemolyticus septicaemia in a liver transplant patient: a case report.

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Department of Internal Medicine, the University of Texas Health Science Center, 6431 Fannin Street, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.



Vibrio parahemolyticus is the leading cause of vibrio-associated gastroenteritis in the United States of America, usually related to poor food handling; only rarely has it been reported to cause serious infections including sepsis and soft tissue infections. In contrast, Vibrio vulnificus is a well-known cause of septicaemia, especially in patients with cirrhosis. We present a patient with V. parahemolyticus sepsis who had an orthotic liver transplant in 2007 and was on immunosuppression for chronic rejection. Clinical suspicion driven by patient presentation, travel to Gulf of Mexico and soft tissue infection resulted in early diagnosis and institution of appropriate antibiotic therapy.


A 48 year old Latin American man with a history of chronic kidney disease, orthotic liver transplant in 2007 secondary to alcoholic end stage liver disease on immunosuppressants, and chronic rejection presented to the emergency department with fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, left lower extremity swelling and fluid filled blisters after a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico. Samples from the blister and blood grew V. parahemolyticus. The patient was successfully treated with ceftriaxone and ciprofloxacin.


Febrile patients with underlying liver disease and/or immunosuppression should be interviewed regarding recent travel to a coastal area and seafood ingestion. If this history is obtained, appropriate empiric antibiotics must be chosen. Patients with liver disease and/or immunosuppresion should be counselled to avoid eating raw or undercooked molluscan shellfish. People can prevent Vibrio sepsis and wound infections by proper cooking of seafood and avoiding exposure of open wounds to seawater or raw shellfish products.

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