Journal List > Korean J Leg Med > v.39(2) > 1087966

Na, Park, Oh, Ahn, Kim, Park, and Huh: Vibrio vulnificus Sepsis: An Autopsy Case


Vibrio vulnificus infection can lead to the rapid expansion of cellulitis or sepsis and can be lethal. Vibrio vulnificus is transmitted through seawater or ingestion of raw or undercooked shellfish. We experienced an uncommon case of death due to Vibrio sepsis, which was confirmed by autopsy. A 56-year-old man who was a sailor was found dead in a fishing boat. Autopsy was performed 3 days later. External examination revealed a few blisters and erythematous lesions on both legs. Internal examination revealed a fatty liver and edema of the legs. The skin lesions on the legs showed blisters that extended from the epidermis to the dermis, accompanied by massive acute inflammation in the dermis and subcutaneous tissue with multinuclear giant cells, as noted on the histologic examination. Vibrio vulnificus was isolated from postmortem blood and subcutaneous tissue of the leg. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first autopsy case in Korea in which Vibrio vulnificus was isolated from postmortem blood. Herein, we present a case of sepsis due to Vibrio vulnificus which was confirmed by autopsy, pathological findings, and postmortem microbiological culture.


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Fig. 1.
Blisters and erythematous lesions on the both legs are noted.
Fig. 2.
(A) Skin lesion of the leg shows a blister from the epidermis to the dermis and acute inflammation in the dermis (H&E, ×50). (B) Multinuclear giant cell with acute inflammation is noted in the subcutaneous tissue (H&E, ×100). (C) Liver shows a fatty degeneration and periportal chronic inflammation (H&E, × 100).
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