When a person becomes infected with Vibrio parahaemolyticus, the bacteria begin to multiply within the body. Within four hours to four days of infection, symptoms can appear. The period between becoming infected and the start of symptoms is called the Vibrio parahaemolyticus incubation period.
When ingested, Vibrio parahaemolyticus can cause a number of symptoms, including:
- Watery diarrhea, often with abdominal cramping
Usually these symptoms last for about three days. Severe disease is rare and occurs more commonly in people with weakened immune systems.
In order to make a Vibrio parahaemolyticus diagnosis, the doctor will ask a number of questions about:
- Recent history of foods or drinks that have been consumed
- Recent travel history
- Current medical conditions
- Current medicines.
As part of making a diagnosis, the doctor will also perform a physical exam to look for signs of Vibrio parahaemolyticus and fluid loss. If the doctor suspects Vibrio parahaemolyticus, he or she will recommend a microbiologic culture of the wound (a blood culture); in the case of patients who consumed raw or undercooked seafood, the doctor may recommend a stool culture.
Treatment is not necessary in most cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection. There is no evidence that antibiotic treatment decreases the severity or the length of an infection. Patients should drink plenty of liquids to replace fluids lost through diarrhea.
In severe or prolonged cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, antibiotics such as tetracycline, ampicillin, or ciprofloxacin can be used.