Infected Oysters at Florida Restaurant Kill Diner

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

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

A 71 year old man has died due to contracting a bacterial infection after eating raw oysters at a restaurant in Florida, said the health officials.

The man had underlying medical conditions, a Florida Department of Health spokesman told WTLV-TV.

The department's website says it is the third fatal case of Vibrio in Florida this year. The county did not have any vibrio cases past year but there were confirmed cases and one death in 2016. The name of the restaurant was 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.

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The vast majority of vibriosis infections result in symptoms typical of a foodborne illness: cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, fever, and chills. Infections are rare but they can be contracted by eating tainted raw shellfish - such as oysters - or by exposing open wounds to salt water. This infection can cause blistering skin lesions, bloodstream infections, and necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease, which causes soft tissue to die) if a wound gets infected.

The news comes from the Florida Department of Health, which revealed that the raw oysters were tainted with a bacterium called Vibrio vulnificus, commonly mislabeled as the "flesh-eating bacterium".

Others who should avoid consuming raw shellfish are those with hemochromatosis (iron overload), diabetes, cancer, stomach disorders or any illness or treatment that weakens the immune system. "That's usually not the case when someone consumes the bacteria", Drennon said. "So far this year, there have been a total of 16 cases of Vibrio vulnificus statewide with three confirmed deaths".

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