DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Vibrio vulnificus, Gram-negative, motile, curved rod-shaped bacteria (prokaryote). It is a human pathogen and causes an infection often after eating seafood, especially oysters. The bacterium occurs in marine environments such as estuaries, brackish ponds or coastal areas and it is highly salt tolerant. It is often present in contaminated waters and heated waters such as thermal or volcanic springs. Vibrio vulnificus can also enter the body through open wounds when swimming or wading, or via puncture wounds from the spines of fish such as tilapia. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, decreased blood pressure and a blistering dermatitis. Severe symptoms and even death can occur if the bacterium enters the bloodstream (more common in people with compromised immune systems or liver disease). Magnification: x5,000 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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