Florida resident dies from bacterial infection after eating oyster


A 71-year-old man died on July 10 from a bacterial infection after eating a tainted oyster at a restaurant in Sarasota, Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Florida Department of Health Sarasota County Steve Huard says that the man got Vibrio vulnificus from eating the oyster.

If you are experiencing these symptoms and think you might have contracted this bacteria, the Florida Department of Health says to get medical help, WWSB reports. This makes it hard to rely on your senses to determine if an oyster is safe to eat.

Although healthy people usually come away from a Vibrio vulnificus with just a mild disease, the bacterium can cause serious symptoms, which include fever, chills, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, decreased blood pressure (septic shock), and blistering skin lesions. The bacterium naturally occurs in warm, brackish seawater. While infections are rare, people can contract the bacteria by eating contaminated raw shellfish, or by exposing open wounds such as cuts or scrapes to water.

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Infections are more likely between May and October when the water is warmer. The county, according to the department, didn't have any cases or deaths in 2017, and three confirmed cases and one death in 2016.

Though sometimes labeled a "flesh-eating" bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus can not attack healthy skin, the Sun-Sentinel reported. There were no reported cases a year ago, officials said.

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. In this particular case, the infection with this pathogen has resulted in severe gastrointestinal symptoms that eventually led to death.

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