Florida resident dies from bacterial infection after eating oyster

Henrietta Brewer
July 19, 2018

A 71-year-old man from Sarasota County, Florida died from a bacterial infection he got after eating a bad oyster. The name of the man or the restaurant where he ate were not released.

"Vibrio is a bacteria and it lives in saltwater, or brackish water, so any water that has salt in it, and it's there essentially all of the time", said Michael Drennon, disease intervention services program manager of the Sarasota County Florida Department of Health, to WWSB. "You have to have a pre-existing cut-or you have to eat raw, contaminated seafood or chug a whole lot of contaminated water-for it to get into your bloodstream; it can't break down healthy, intact skin".


A 71-year-old man died of infection of the vibrio vulnificus bacteria after eating oysters at a restaurant in Florida.

The illness is rare but can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, according to the agency.


The CDC warned that it is impossible to tell if an oyster is bad just by looking at it and advised that cooking them properly is the only way to kill harmful bacteria. "Most infections occur from May through October when water temperatures are warmer". Individuals who exhibit symptoms after entering the water with open wounds or after eating raw shellfish are urged to see their doctor.

They also should not enter the water with an open wound, but should wrap or protect any wounds before entering brackish sea water. There were no reported cases a year ago, officials said.


CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified Vibrio vulnificus as Necrotizing fasciitis, which is a flesh-eating disease. In 2017, there were two cases and also no fatalities. There were three confirmed cases and one death in 2016.

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