is a species of bacterium that is
present in all freshwater environments and in brackish water. Some
are capable of causing illness in
fish and amphibians as well as in humans. People may acquire
infections through open wounds or by ingestion of a sufficient
number of the organisms in food or water. Not as much is known
about the other
spp., but they too are aquatic
microorganisms and have been implicated in human disease.
in individuals with impaired
immune systems or various malignancies.
also may cause enteritis in anyone, or septicemia in
immunocompromised persons or those with malignancies.
At the present time, there is controversy as to whether
is a cause of human gastroenteritis. Its presence in
the stools of individuals with diarrhea, in the absence of other
known enteric pathogens, suggests that it has some role in disease.
are considered by
many as "putative pathogens," associated with diarrheal disease,
but as of yet they are unproven causative agents.
Two distinct types of gastroenteritis have been associated with
: a cholera-like illness with a watery diarrhea
and a dysenteric illness characterized by loose stools containing
blood and mucus. The infectious dose of this organism is unknown,
but SCUBA divers who have ingested small amounts of water have
become ill, and
has isolated from their
stools. A general infection in which the organisms spread
throughout the body has been observed in individuals with
underlying illness (septicemia).
has frequently been found in fish and
shellfish. It has also been found in market samples of red meats
(beef, pork, lamb) and poultry. Since little is known about the
virulence mechanisms of
, it is presumed that
not all strains are pathogenic, given the ubiquity of the
The relative frequency of
disease in the
U.S. is unknown. Most cases have been sporadic rather than
associated with large outbreaks, but increased reports have been
noted from several clinical centers.
On rare occasions the dysentery-like syndrome is severe and may
last for several weeks.
may spread throughout
the body and cause a general infection in persons with impaired
immune systems. Those at risk are individuals suffering from
leukemia, carcinoma, and cirrhosis and those treated with
immunosuppressive drugs or who are undergoing cancer
All people are believed to be susceptible to gastroenteritis,
although it is most frequently observed in very young children.
People with impaired immune systems or underlying malignancy are
susceptible to the more severe infections.
Food and Drug
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provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a
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