Lawyers for Your Vibriosis Lawsuit against a Restaurant
Attorneys Fred Pritzker, Brendan Flaherty and Ryan Osterholm are lead lawyers for our Vibrio food poisoning lawsuit team. You can click here now to contact our law firm and request a free consultation. Find out if you have a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a restaurant and can file a lawsuit for compensation. Our lawyers are some of the few in the U.S. who have won these cases. You can use the form below to contact Fred, Brendan and Ryan about a lawsuit for money damages.
What is Vibrio Food Poisoning?
Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio cholerae (cholera) are bacteria that occur naturally in warm coastal areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico. These bacteria are found in higher concentrations in the summer months when water gets warmer.
Vibrio causes food poisoning when people eat seafood (primarily raw oysters) contaminated with this bacterium, generally either V. vulnificus or V. parahaemolyticus. The illness is sometimes called vibriosis. The states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi have the most Vibrio food poisoning cases.
In persons with liver disease, cancer, or another immune-compromising condition, V. vulnificus typically infects the bloodstream, causing a life-threatening illness called sepsis or septicemia. About half of V. vulnificus blood infections are fatal, and death can occur within two days. Attorney Fred Pritzker has represented families whose loved ones died in this way in wrongful death lawsuits against restaurants.
Symptoms of Infection
Among healthy people, ingestion of V. vulnificus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In immunocompromised persons, particularly those with chronic liver disease, V. vulnificus can infect the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness characterized by fever and chills, decreased blood pressure (septic shock), and blistering skin lesions. V. vulnificus bloodstream infections are fatal about 50% of the time.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus causes watery diarrhea often with abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. Usually these symptoms occur within 24 hours of ingestion. Illness is usually self-limited and lasts 3 days. Severe disease is rare and occurs more commonly in persons with weakened immune systems.
Vibrio cholera is extremely rare in the United States. It is an acute, diarrheal illness that can be severe. Approximately one in 10 (5-10%) people who contract this infection will have severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these people, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.
People at Risk
Certain health conditions put people at high risk for serious illness or death from Vibrio infections from raw oysters. These conditions include:
- Liver disease (from hepatitis, cirrhosis, alcoholism, or cancer) (200 times more likely to die)
- Iron overload disease (hemochromatosis)
- Cancer (including lymphomas, leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease)
- Stomach disorders
- Any illness or medical treatment that weakens the body’s immune system, including HIV infection
Even if the person had one of the above conditions, it may be possible to sue a restaurant.
Vibriosis Outbreak News
A Vibrio outbreak linked to raw oysters harvested in the coastal waters of Baja California has sickened 12 people. Some of the case-patients also tested positive for Shigella, norovirus and E. coli.
The case-patients, in Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Barbara and San Diego Counties, reported eating the contaminated oysters at restaurants and preparing them at home. The illnesses were reported in February, March and April 2019.
26 people were sickened in an outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections (vibriosis) linked to eating fresh crab meat imported from Venezuela. The label on the crab meat packaging read “fresh” or “pre-cooked” and was a ready-to-eat product. Onset-of-illness dates ranged from April 1 to July 19, 2018. Nine of the 26 were hospitalized. Twenty-four of the people were interviewed. Of these, 22 said they ate crab meat in a home or restaurant. With this information, state and local health officials collected information from the reported restaurants and grocery stores. The FDA and officials from the state of Maryland traced back the source of the implicated crab meat and found that there were a number of Venezuelan suppliers. Although the investigation did not identify a single company as the supplier of crab meat to all of the locations, they did determine the suppliers. This is evidence that can be used to determine who the outbreak victims can sue for compensation.
A multistate outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections linked to eating fresh crab meat imported from Venezuela. As of July 12, 2018, 12 people infected with Vibrio parahaemolyticus who ate fresh crab meat have been reported from Maryland, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.
Oyster beds in Katama Bay in the community of Edgartown, Massachusetts, have been closed effective September 3, 2014. The closure happened after 4 people who had eaten raw oysters harvested in the area were diagnosed with Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
30 cases of Vibrio food poisoning in Washington State have been associated with eating raw oysters from three commercial growing areas: Totten Inlet near Olympia, North Bay and Dabob Bay in north Hood Canal.
Vibrio Infection Facts
80,000 illnesses, 500 hospitalizations and 100 deaths are caused by Vibrio bacteria each year, according to the CDC. There are 2 ways to get a Vibrio infection: 1) eat seafood contaminated with Vibrio or 2) get seawater with Vibrio in an open wound. People with weakened immune systems or chronic liver disease are at highest risk of getting seriously ill.
In general, the only people who can sue for Vibrio are those who contracted it by eating contaminated seafood.
- 75% growth in number of Vibrio infections (Vibriosis) since 2008;
- People 65 and older most at risk for contracting a Vibrio infection that makes them sick enough to seek medical attention;
- CDC estimates millions of unreported cases of Vibriosis each year.