3 NC residents died of Vibrio infections in July

By on July 28, 2023

NCDHHS statement follows July 21 death of Nags Head resident

On July 28, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) issued this warning about the Vibrio bacteria that have now caused three fatalities in the state this month. On July 25, the Voice published this story (Avid Nags Head waterman dies after contracting bacterial infection in sound) about the July 21 death of Nags Head resident Mike Gard from an apparent Vibrio infection of a cut he had sustained.

Here is the information from the NCDHHS.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging North Carolinians to be aware of the potential dangers of having wounds or cuts open to saltwater or brackish water following reports of three deaths due to Vibrio infections in North Carolina residents.

Vibrio are bacteria that normally live in warm seawater or brackish water (mixed salt and fresh water, as is found in an estuary or salt marsh) and can be found worldwide. Since they are naturally found in warm waters, people with open wounds, cuts or scratches can be exposed to these bacteria through direct contact with seawater or brackish water. Vibrio can also cause disease in those who eat raw or undercooked oysters and shellfish.

Vibrio cases in North Carolina are rare, with most cases being reported in the warmest months — June through September. However, Vibrio infections can cause severe illness. Since 2019, eight of the 47 reported cases among North Carolina residents have been fatal. The three most recent fatalities have occurred in July 2023. Two of the three cases had scratches that were exposed to brackish water in North Carolina and another east coast state. The third case also had brackish water exposure in North Carolina, however, the individual also consumed personally caught seafood that was not shared nor commercially distributed.

No links have been identified between the cases or the areas where they were likely exposed to Vibrio, and public health investigations are ongoing. No other information about the decedents will be shared at this time due to privacy concerns.

While healthy individuals typically develop mild illness, Vibrio infections can be severe or life threatening for people with weakened immune systems or chronic liver disease. If you start to see signs of a skin infection after contact with brackish waters or seawater, you should contact your health care provider. Other symptoms can include diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, fever and chills.

Following these recommendations will help reduce your likelihood of exposure and infection:
  • If you have a wound (including from a recent surgery, piercing or tattoo), stay out of saltwater or brackish water, if possible. This includes wading at the beach.
  • Cover your wound with a waterproof bandage if it could come into contact with saltwater, brackish water or raw or undercooked seafood.
  • If you sustain any type of wound while in salt or brackish water (e.g., cutting your hand on a boat propeller or crab pot) immediately get out of the water and wash with soap and water.
  • Wash wounds and cuts thoroughly with soap and water after contact with saltwater, brackish water or raw seafood.
  • Thoroughly cook all shellfish to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Reports of Vibrio infections associated with brackish water contact have been increasing over the past several decades, and the geographic range of waters associated with infection is spreading north along the East Coast of the U.S. due to increasing water temperatures. As climate change increases water temperatures, more Vibrio cases can be expected, and they are likely to be identified in previously unaffected areas.

More information on Vibrio can be found on the CDC website and the NCDHHS-Division of Public Health website.



Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


See what people are saying:

  • Phoebe

    I get the privacy concerns in protecting the families of the deceased, and their names. But, I don’t understand why the specific areas or places of infection are not made available? This information should be made available to the public. This is important information!

    Saturday, Jul 29 @ 1:39 pm