Vibrio vulnificus presents a significant public health risk to certain persons consuming raw or undercooked seafood, or who acquire wound infections while involved in aquatic activities in coastal or estuarine waters. This review describes the bacterium's taxonomy, the three types of infection it is capable of producing, the virulence factors known or speculated to be involved in these infections, its distribution in oceanic environments, and the chemical and physical factors that contribute to its ecology. As it is the paradigm for the viable but nonculturable state, this physiological response to environmental stress is also briefly described.
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