Published: Thu, July 19, 2018
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

Man dies after eating raw oysters tainted with 'flesh-eating' bacteria

Man dies after eating raw oysters tainted with 'flesh-eating' bacteria

A 71-year-old man has died after eating raw oysters in a Florida restaurant.

The report said the Sarasota man died from a gastro-intestinal illness.

The department has not released the name of the restaurant where the man ate the oyster.

The restaurant where the oyster was served was not immediately identified.

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The Florida Department of Health told the Sun Sentinel that the oyster was contaminated with the bacteria Vibrio vulnificus, an organism that can cause severe and potentially fatal illness. Florida health officials say anyone with open wounds should keep them covered with clean, dry bandages when swimming.

Vibrio vulnificus bacteria is found in raw or undercooked shell fish, especially during the summer months when salt water temperatures are higher.

Common symptoms are fever, diarrhea and vomiting which can progress severely and quickly to the point of hospitalization, Drennon said.

This is the first confirmed case and death from Vibrio vulnificus in Sarasota County this year.

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The illness was caused by Vibrio vulnificus, officials said. In 2017, there were two cases and also no fatalities. While most cases are mild, the infection can become serious and lead to limb amputation or death within days of encountering the flesh-eating bacteria. Individuals who exhibit symptoms after entering the water with open wounds or after eating raw shellfish are urged to see their doctor.

Infections are more likely between May and October when the water is warmer.

There are approximately a dozen different types of Vibrio bacteria that can trigger various forms of a gastrointestinal illness known as vibriosis. Health officials, however, said this label is misleading since the bacteria do not attack healthy skin.

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