A 71-year-old man has died from a bacterial infection after eating an oyster in a Florida restaurant in Sarasota County, according to local reports.
The Florida Department of Health has not identified the man or the restaurant but the man died on 10, July.
In posts published to Twitter, the health department identified the bacteria in question as Vibrio vulnificus, a rare bacterium that normally lives in warm seawater and that is naturally occurring in warm salty or brackish water.
The health department has said the specific bacteria Vibrio vulnificus is not a flesh-eating bacteria – despite having been mislabelled that way – in a series of posts published to Twitter. According to the CDC, Vibrio vulnificus is one of the dozen species of Vibrio bacteria causing Vibrosis, which people typically get by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, and particularly oysters.
Vibrio vulnificus can cause skin infections when an open wound is exposed to seawater. The CDC states the bacteria can also infect the bloodstream.
Michael Drennon, the disease intervention services program manager for the Florida Department of Health Sarasota County said symptoms for Vibrio vulnificus, includes diarrhoea, fever and other symptoms typically associated with gastrointestinal illness, in an interview with local ABC affiliate WWSB. Mr Drennon told local Fox 13 that officials did not believe the 71-year-old man had been exposed to sea water prior to eating oysters at the restaurant.
“We have an individual that consumed some raw oysters and to the best of our knowledge had no exposure to salt water, became severely ill, and passed away,” he said.
According to the health department’s website, there were no reported deaths or cases of Vibrio vulnificus in Sarasota last year. There have been three deaths and 16 reported cases of the bacteria throughout the state in 2018 thus far. The health department recommends people with weaker immune systems wear forms of foot protection to prevent cuts by rocks and shells on the beach.
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