Necrotizing fasciitis induced by Vibrio vulnificus

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Necrotizing fasciitis (NF) is a soft-tissue infection that is most commonly caused by bacteria that infect open wounds and results in tissue damage and death. For this reason the bacteria that induce this infection are termed “flesh-eating bacteria”. Different variations of Necrotizing fasciitis exist and they are separated into three general groups based on the types of bacteria that cause the infection [1]. The first and most common are the Streptococcus and Staphylococcus bacteria, which are of growing concern because of the emergence of MRSA’s. The second group involves polymicrobial-induced infection or infection by Vibrio vulnificus. Clostridium bacteria cause the third variation of Necrotizing fasciitis. While Vibrio vulnificus is one of the more infrequent causes of NF, it has a relatively high mortality rate of 26% [2] because it spreads quickly and it is hard to diagnose. V. vulnificus thrives in warm, medium salinity water and causes infections either through the ingestion of contaminated seafood or in this case, through open wounds that come in contact with V. vulnificus contaminated water[3]. There also appears to be increasing incidence of Vibrios infections, which could be the result of ocean warming due to global climate change [4].

Pathogenesis

Electron micrograph of the Ebola Zaire virus. This was the first photo ever taken of the virus, on 10/13/1976. By Dr. F.A. Murphy, now at U.C. Davis, then at the CDC.


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Further Reading

[Sample link] Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Special Pathogens Branch

References

[1] Davis C. 2012. Necrotizing Fasciitis (Flesh-Eating Disease) Symptoms, Treatment, Causes, Pictures, Diagnosis. MedicineNet [Internet]. Available from: http://www.medicinenet.com/necrotizing_fasciitis/article.htm

[2] Oliver J.D. 2005. Wound infections caused by Vibrio vulnificus and other marine bacteria . Epidemiol. Infect. 133: 383–391.

[3] Vibrio vulnificus | Vibrio Illness (Vibriosis) | CDC. CDC [Internet]. 2013. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/vibriov.html

[4] Vezzulli, L. et al. 2013. Ocean warming and spread of pathogenic vibrios in the aquatic environment. Microb Ecol. 65: 817-825.

[5] Horseman M, Surani S. 2011. A comprehensive review of Vibrio vulnificus: an important cause of severe sepsis and skin and soft-tissue infection. International Journal of Infectious Diseases 15:e157–e166.

[6]Hor L., et al. 2000. Mechanism of high susceptibility of iron-overloaded mouse to Vibrio vulnificus infection. Microbiol Immunol 44:871–8.

[7]Lee J.H., et al. 2007. Identification and characterization of the Vibrio vulnificus rtxA essential for cytotoxicity in vitro and virulence in mice. J Microbiol 45:146–52.

[8] Jones MK, Oliver JD. 2009. Vibrio vulnificus: disease and pathogenesis. Infect Immun 77:1723–33.

[9] Kim, S. Y., et al. 2003. Regulation of Vibrio vulnificus virulence by the LuxS quorum-sensing system. Mol. Microbiol. 48:1647-1664.

[10]Matsuoka Y, et al. 2013. Accurate diagnosis and treatment of Vibrio vulnificus infection: a retrospective study of 12 cases. Braz J Infect Dis 17:7–12.

[11] Hong G-L, et al. 2012. Surgical treatment of 19 cases with Vibrio necrotising fasciitis. Burns 38:290–295.

Edited by (your name here), a student of Nora Sullivan in BIOL168L (Microbiology) in The Keck Science Department of the Claremont Colleges Spring 2014.