Frequently Asked Questions about Vibrio in Florida

Figure 3. The oyster bed is photographed at low tide when the animals are exposed to the air. These are called inter-tidal oyster beds. In some places in Florida, where the water is deeper in the estuary, the oysters always are underwater. These are called sub-tidal oyster beds. Credit: UF/IFAS photo
Florida is a tropical paradise that attracts marine enthusiasts and seafood lovers from around the world. Its extensive waterways not only offer unique areas for us to explore but also provide essential habitat for marine life, including marine bacteria that keep the habitat in healthy balance by breaking down organic matter and providing food for larger organisms. One type of marine bacteria known as Vibrio sometimes causes infections and seafood sickness in people with weakened immune systems, but Vibrio should not keep Floridians and visitors from enjoying their favorite activities because Vibrio infections are rare and easy to prevent. This 7-page fact sheet written by Gabby Barbarite, Peter J McCarthy, Holly Abeels, and Anita Wrightwill and published by the Florida Sea Grant College Program will help you ensure that your time on the water is as safe and enjoyable as possible.