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Home » Vibrio Septicemia Alert: Raw Shrimp’s Hidden Risks in Season

Vibrio Septicemia Alert: Raw Shrimp’s Hidden Risks in Season

  • Food
Protect against Vibrio septicemia with safe King Shrimp consumption.

1. Shrimp and the Risk of Vibrio Septicemia

Shrimp are especially in season from September to November, during which they grow larger and tastier, earning the nickname “King Shrimp.” However, handling or consuming King Shrimp requires caution due to the risk of Vibrio septicemia.

Vibrio bacteria primarily infect through contaminated shellfish and can also enter the body through skin wounds. While healthy adults may experience mild food poisoning symptoms upon infection, individuals with liver disease, diabetes, alcoholism, or weakened immunity are at a higher risk of developing septicemia. Vibrio septicemia has a high fatality rate of about 50%, and last year in Korea, 18 out of 46 patients succumbed to it.

Vibrio bacteria can infect through various routes and proliferate more robustly when the sea temperature exceeds 15 degrees Celsius. As they are halophilic, all seafood carries a risk of infection. Due to the difficulty of controlling it with antibiotics, bacterial diseases caused by Vibrio are common in farmed shrimp.


2. Preventing Vibrio Septicemia: Proper Cleaning and Cooking of Shrimp

To prevent Vibrio infection, it’s crucial to properly clean and thoroughly cook shrimp. Whether wild-caught or farmed, consuming shrimp raw carries the risk of Vibrio infection. It is recommended to cook shrimp at temperatures above 85°C for a sufficient duration.

Before cooking, shrimp should be thoroughly washed under running water several times. Special care is needed when handling uncooked shrimp, especially sharp parts like the head, horns, and tail, and wearing thick gloves is advisable. Since Vibrio bacteria often reside in the intestines of seafood, and the intestines of shrimp are located in the head, extra attention is required when cleaning this part.

If symptoms suggestive of septicemia appear after consuming shrimp or other seafood, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Fever, chills, diarrhea, vomiting, swelling or redness in the legs are typical symptoms of Vibrio septicemia. This disease can be acutely fatal, with death possible within 48 hours of onset, necessitating prompt treatment.


3. Types and Characteristics of Shrimp: Comparing ‘King Shrimp’ and ‘Whiteleg Shrimp’

The term ‘King Shrimp’ commonly refers to what is known as ‘Whiteleg Shrimp.’ While ‘King Shrimp’ can denote any large shrimp, it also specifies a particular scientific name. Whiteleg Shrimp are known scientifically as ‘Litopenaeus,’ whereas ‘King Shrimp,’ belonging to the Penaeidae family, refers to ‘Fenneropenaeus Chinensis.’ ‘King Shrimp’ are vulnerable to white spot syndrome virus, making their cultivation challenging, so they are exclusively wild-caught. In contrast, Whiteleg Shrimp are relatively easy to farm and are widely supplied globally. Nutritionally, research indicates no significant difference between Whiteleg and King Shrimp.


4. Summary

Be cautious of Vibrio septicemia when consuming ‘King Shrimp,’ especially from September to November. To prevent infection, clean and cook shrimp thoroughly. While ‘King Shrimp’ are usually wild-caught, ‘Whiteleg Shrimp’ are easier to farm, with both types nutritionally similar