The importance of vibrio species other than Vibrio cholerae has only recently been appreciated. Vibrio parahaemolyticus has usually been associated with gastrointestinal tract infections although it may be a rare cause of soft tissue infection and septicemia. V alginolyticus is a rare cause of marine wound infections, otitis, and sepsis, and has not been associated with outbreaks of gastroenteritis. In 1976 Hollis et al1 described the characteristics of 38 isolates of a halophilic bacterium isolated from blood cultures (20), cerebrospinal fluid (2), and wound infections (16). Originally called Beneckea vulnifica, this organism was reassigned to the genus Vibrio and named V vulnificus by Farmer. It is a salt-requiring, marine vibrio that can be distinguished from other vibrio species by its ability to ferment lactose. V vulnificus is a particularly virulent organism that typically produces either primary septicemia that occurs after ingestion of raw shellfish, especially in patients with chronic liver disease, or a fulminating wound infection that occurs after exposure to seawater or handling of shellfish.