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Man Dies From Flesh-Eating Bacteria After Eating Oyster At Florida Restaurant

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A 71-year-old man died of infection of the vibrio vulnificus bacteria after eating oysters at a restaurant in Florida. What are the symptoms of this bacterial infection and how is it treated?  ( Yung-pin Pao | Pixabay )

The Florida Department of Health has revealed that an elderly man died from bacterial infection after eating tainted oyster at a restaurant.

Seafood Meal At A Florida Restaurant

Health officials said that the 71-year-old man died from an infection of the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria after having a seafood meal at a restaurant in Sarasota, Florida on July 8. The unnamed man, who had underlying medical conditions, died two days later.

The department did not release the name of the restaurant where the man ate the tainted shellfish. Nonetheless, it said that this is the first confirmed case and death of Vibrio vulnificus in Sarasota County this year. The county did not have any vibrio cases last year but there were confirmed cases and one death in 2016.

Vibrio Vulnificus

Vibrio vulnificus is a rare infection caused by eating raw or undercooked shellfish especially oysters or through exposure of cuts and wounds to brackish and salt water where the bacteria thrive.

Vibrio vulnificus is also referred to as a “flesh-eating bacteria”. Health officials, however, said this label is misleading since the bacteria do not attack healthy skin.

Infection by Vibrio vulnificus is characterized by fever, chills, decreased blood pressure and blistering skin lesions.


Healthy individuals develop mild disease from the infection but the infection can become more serious and even deadly in people with compromised immune systems, particularly those with a chronic liver disease.

People with the preexisting medical condition have 80 times higher risk for Vibrio vulnificus bloodstream infections compared with healthy people.

“The bacterium can invade the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness,” the Florida Department of Health said.” Vibrio vulnificus bloodstream infections are fatal about 50 percent of the time.”


Experts recommend those with the open wound not to enter brackish seawater without protection.

“If you have a wound (including cuts and scrapes), avoid contact with brackish or saltwater or cover the wound with a waterproof bandage if there’s a possibility it could come into contact with brackish or salt water, raw seafood, or raw seafood juices,” the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Oysters, clams, and mussels need to be cooked thoroughly since infection may be contracted through consumption of undercooked shellfish. Individuals who exhibit symptoms after entering the water with open wounds or after eating raw shellfish are urged to see their doctor.

Suspected cases of Vibrio vulnificus need to be immediately treated with antibiotics to improve their survival. In patients with wound infection, the wound may heal poorly and may even require surgery. Amputation of the infected limb may also become necessary.

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