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Clinical Observation
November 26, 2001

A Fatal Case of Vibrio vulnificus Presenting as Septic Arthritis

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunogenetics, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas-Houston Medical School.

Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(21):2616-2618. doi:10.1001/archinte.161.21.2616

Vibrio vulnificus is an invasive gram-negative bacillus that may cause necrotizing cellulitis, bacteremia, and/or sepsis. Although V vulnificus infection is uncommon, it is frequently fatal and is usually attributed to ingestion of raw shellfish or traumatic exposure to a marine environment; patients are also often found to have a hepatic disorder (cirrhosis, alcohol abuse, or hemochromatosis) or an immunocompromised health status, and most commonly present with septicemia or a wound infection. We describe a patient who presented with septic arthritis as the first clinical manifestation of a V vulnificus infection. The organism was subsequently identified in a synovial fluid aspirate.

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