Compiled By: Julie A. Albrecht, Ph.D., Associate Professor

The Organism: Three species of Vibrio are pathogenic for humans; Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Vibrio vulnificus. V. cholerae is responsible for cholera outbreaks and epidemics.

 PDF Fact Sheet

Sources of the organism:

  • Intestinal tracts of infected humans
  • Fecally contaminated water

Associated foods:

  • Seafood (fish, crab, shrimp, oysters), raw or undercooked

Microorganism Characteristics:  Gram negative curved rod shaped bacteria

Growth conditions:

  • Temperature range: 15-42°C (59-108°F)
  • pH range: 6-11
  • Lowest reported Aw for growth: 0.97

The Disease: Vibrio species cause symptoms of invasive gastroenteritis.

Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Septicemia

Onset time:

  • 2 hours -7 days depending on species

Infective Dose:

  • Large numbers (>1 million cells) need to be consumed for symptoms of the illness to develop.

Duration of symptoms:

  • 6-7 days


  • Thoroughly cook seafood, including oysters.
  • Use proper hand washing techniques and practice good personal hygiene.
  • Proper sanitation of food contact surfaces and utensils.
  • Use a safe water supply.