"The Baltic Sea Germ" : A Case Report of Necrotizing Fasciitis following Vibrio vulnificus Infection
Reported is an 80-year-old patient with septic shock from necrotizing fasciitis secondary to a Vibrio vulnificus (Vv) infection. The patient reports having been swimming in the Baltic Sea after a minor trauma to the left leg. Emergency superficial necrosectomy followed by intensive medical therapy was performed. Antibiotic therapy was initiated with a third-generation cephalosporin and a tetracycline. Vv was detected in the intraoperative microbiological smears. Instead of a leg amputation and a flap, due to the patient's age, a split skin covering to consolidate the wound was performed. Vv is a gram-negative rod bacterium of the genus Vibrio. Vv occurs in warm, low-salinity seawater (brackish water). In Germany, Vv occurs primarily in river mouths of the low-salinity Baltic Sea. Infections by Vv can occur through open wounds or by eating raw infected seafood, especially oysters. Infection via wounds often take a fulminant lethal course. Patients with chronic diseases, weakened immune system, and open wounds are particularly at risk. Infections with Vv are rare, but occur worldwide. Global warming is expected to spread Vv as water temperature increases and the dilution effect of sea level rise further decreases ocean salinity, and natural disasters promote the spread of Vv.