Flesh-eating bacteria from eating raw oysters kills Florida man

Phillip Cunningham
July 21, 2018

A 71-year-old man has died from a gastro-intestinal illness after consuming flesh eating bacteria on an oyster at a local restaurant.

The Florida Department of Health has revealed that an elderly man died from bacterial infection after eating tainted oyster at a restaurant. So far in 2018, there have been 16 confirmed cases of Vibrio vulnificus in Florida, according to the health department's website. This makes it hard to rely on your senses to determine if an oyster is safe to eat.

Vibrio vulnificus is a naturally occurring bacteria that resides in warm, brackish seawater.

The vast majority of vibriosis infections result in symptoms typical of a foodborne illness: cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, fever, and chills.

"Exposures occur more commonly during the summer months from May to October, when the water is warmer", agency officials told the Tampa Bay Times. Most cases are unpleasant but resolve within a few days, but rare infections from the species Vibrio vulnificus can cause a "flesh-eating" or necrotizing fasciitis condition that kills up to 30% of those infected. This infection can cause blistering skin lesions, bloodstream infections, and necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease, which causes soft tissue to die) if a wound gets infected.

Vibrio vulnificus is a species of bacteria found in undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters, that can cause serious and sometimes fatal illnesses in humans. Nonetheless, it said that this is the first confirmed case and death of Vibrio vulnificus in Sarasota County this year.

People with weakened immune systems or open wounds are at a greater risk for infection. In 2017, there were two cases and also no fatalities.

Suspected cases of Vibrio vulnificus need to be immediately treated with antibiotics to improve their survival.

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