In July 2021, Swedish public health authorities reported 13 cases of serious wound infections due to vibriosis, with all cases reported from the coasts of Götaland and Svealand, mainly in people aged over 65 years.
Severe soft tissue infections due to vibriosis are caused by the bacteria Vibrio vulnificians, which are found in brackish and salt water, such as the Baltic Sea. The bacteria cannot infect intact skin or minor wounds, but can infect pre-existing larger wounds. The resulting soft tissue infection may develop quickly, be severe and may need surgical treatment alongside antibiotics, with the possibility of septicaemia occurring.
Advice for travellers
- Those planning open water swimming during travel, particularly if immunocompromised, should be advised to avoid bathing until larger skin wounds have fully healed.
- Medical attention should be sought quickly for any skin infections that develop after bathing, particularly if they progress quickly.
Source: TRAVAX, 23 July 2021