Published: Sat, July 21, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Man dies from bacterial infection from Vibrio vulnificus in raw oysters

Man dies from bacterial infection from Vibrio vulnificus in raw oysters

- Health officials say that a 71-year-old man died after eating a bad oyster in Sarasota earlier this month.

The local health department said the unidentified man died on July 10 from vibrio, a bacteria usually seen from undercooked oysters, reports WFLA yesterday, July 18. Since the beginning of year in Florida there were 16 cases of Vibrio vulnificus infection.

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

This is the first case and fatality involving flesh eating bacteria in Sarasota County this year. The name of the restaurant was not released.

There is an investigation protcol in place that notifies the restaurant and determines the batch where the oyster came from so that sale of that specific batch can be stopped. The particular type of bacterial in question is not considered flesh-eating. Typical symptoms for the infection include fever, diarrhea, and vomiting, but in rare cases, the bacteria can become a "flesh-eating disease".

The CDC says that Vibrio vulnificus causes 80,000 illnesses each year in the United States.

Skin lesions caused by Vibrio vulnificus bacteria after Hurricane Katrina.

In these instances, many people with the infections have to be admitted into ICU, with between 15 and 30 percent of cases proving to be fatal.

People with weakened immune systems or open wounds are at a greater risk for infection.

Health officials also urge people with certain health conditions to avoid eating raw oysters and other shellfish. Health officials, however, said this label is misleading since the bacteria do not attack healthy skin. In 2016, Manatee County had two cases, while Sarasota County had three cases and one fatality.

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

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