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NOTE: A surveillance case definition is a set of uniform criteria used to define a disease for public health surveillance. Surveillance case definitions enable public health officials to classify and count cases consistently across reporting jurisdictions. Surveillance case definitions are not intended to be used by healthcare providers for making a clinical diagnosis or determining how to meet an individual patient’s health needs.

CSTE Position Statement(s)

  • 09-ID-69

Clinical Description

An infection of variable severity characterized by diarrhea and vomiting, primary septicemia, or wound infections. Asymptomatic infections may occur, and the organism may cause extraintestinal infections.

Laboratory Criteria For Diagnosis

Isolation of Vibrio spp. other than toxigenic Vibrio cholerae O1 or O139 from a clinical specimen.*


The most common mode of transmission is via raw or under cooked seafood, with oysters being the most frequently implicated source. Non-cholera Vibrio spp. may also be spread through contact with water, especially seawater.

Case Classification


A clinically-compatible symptomatic case that is epidemiologically linked to a confirmed case.


A case that meets the laboratory criteria for diagnosis. Note that species identification and, if applicable, serotype designation (i.e., Vibrio cholerae non-O1/non-O139) should be reported.


In addition to reporting through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS), CDC requests that states collect information on the standard surveillance form for Cholera and Other Vibrio Illness Surveillance System (COVIS), available at: CDC intends to integrate the COVIS form into the National Electronic Diseases Surveillance System (NEDSS) in the future. Reporting sites should use the COVIS reporting form until the integration is complete and COVIS data can be transmitted to CDC. CDC requests that Vibrio cholerae and Vibrio parahaemolyticus isolates be referred to the Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Laboratory for characterization.

The 2007 case definition appearing on this page was re-published in the 2009 CSTE position statement 09-ID-69. Thus, the 2007 and 2010 versions of the case definition are identical.

*Infections due to toxigenic Vibrio cholerae O1 or O139 are reportable as cholera (see current cholera case definition).

Related Case Definition(s)