A woman in King County, Washington was diagnosed with a Vibrio vulnificus infection in a wound. This rare and infection can cause life-threatening illness. Vibrio bacteria live in seawater, but is usually found in warmer waters such as the Gulf of Mexico.
Public health officials at Public Health – Seattle & King County think that the “likely source” of this infection was tilapia fish purchased from the Asian Food Center at 14509 NE 20th Street in Bellevue. Anyone who has eaten or prepared fish from this location before November 17, 2016 should watch themselves for symptoms of this illness for the next seven days. Anyone who bought fish from that location should throw it away.
Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County said in a statement, “Persons who prepared or consumed fish of any kind from this location should contact their healthcare provider if they develop signs of skin infection, fever, chills, or diarrhea in the seven days after contact with the fish. At this time, there is no known risk for people who have not been in contact with fish from this location, but people should always take precautions when handling raw seafood.”
Officials are testing samples of the fish and the fish tanks at the Asian Food Center. While the investigation is focusing on tilapia, because the woman who got sick was working with it, other seafood may have been contamianted. All tilapia and other fish processed at that facility were thrown away. Tanks and equipment at the Center were decommissioned until they can be fully cleaned and disinfected.
You should see a doctor immediately if you have handled or eaten fish from the Asian Food Center and develop these symptoms within seven days: a new skin infection, including redness, tenderness, swelling, streaking, and skin blisters; fever and chills; diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting; or any unexplained serious illness. If you ate or handled fish from that location and have no illness after seven days, your risk is low.
If you do get sick, see your doctor immediately. Then contact our experienced food safety attorneys for help to protect your legal rights. You can call at 1-888-377-8900 or fill out our free online consultation form.
Some people are at higher risk for contracting this infection and suffering serious complications. Those people include diabetics, people with liver disease, those with weakened immune systems, people with HIV and those who take medications to lower stomach acid or who take immune-suppressing medications.
To prevent a Vibrio vulnificus infection, always use gloves when you are handling raw seafood. Don’t touch raw seafood if you have wounds on your hands or fingers. Always wash your hands after handling raw seafood. And wash cuts or other wounds well with soap and water if you have handled raw seafood. Don’t eat raw or undercooked shellfish or seafood. Cooking kills this pathogenic bacteria. And stay out of saltwater if you have wounds.