"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", Michael Drennon, Disease Intervention Services Program Manager at the Sarasota County Health Dept, said in a statement. The unnamed man, who had underlying medical conditions, died two days later. While most cases are mild, the infection can become serious and lead to limb amputation or death within days of encountering the flesh-eating bacteria.
The department did not release the name of the restaurant where the man ate the tainted shellfish.
Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that lives in warm, brackish seawater, according to the department of health. Symptoms of the illness usually occur within 24 hours of ingestion and include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramping, vomiting, fever, and chills. You can get infected by eating raw shellfish, particularly oysters, or by exposing open wounds to seawater. Of the 80,000 illnesses caused by vibriosis each year, about 52,000 of them were a result of eating contaminated food, according to the CDC.
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Through this oyster, he contracted a gastrointestinal illness related to a flesh-eating bacteria on the oyster.
WWSB also warns that bacteria can enter the system through an open wound, so be wary swimming with cuts.
Skin lesions caused by Vibrio vulnificus bacteria after Hurricane Katrina. Health officials, however, said this label is misleading since the bacteria do not attack healthy skin. "That can progress to a severe illness where you get the bacteria into your blood causing you to be more sick", Said Drennon. "So far this year, there have been a total of 16 cases of Vibrio vulnificus statewide with three confirmed deaths".