A man who ate raw oysters at a Florida restaurant has died after contracting an infection from the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, health officials say. Since the beginning of year in Florida there were 16 cases of Vibrio vulnificus infection.
There are approximately a dozen different types of Vibrio bacteria that can trigger various forms of a gastrointestinal illness known as vibriosis. About 80 percent of infections occur during these months.
"That site may be tender, raw, warm to the touch, kind of appear as a skin infection and then once again as the bacteria progresses or infection progresses, it can get into the blood causing a more severe illness", Drennon said.
Symptoms can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills, rapid pulse, rapid breathing, wound infections and intestinal infections.
But the species the Florida man consumed, Vibrio vulnificus, is more risky, though it only rarely causes serious disease. If the infection is contracted through the skin, it can lead to skin breakdown and ulcers. In rare cases, the bacteria can become "flesh eating disease".
According to the CDC, Vibrio is a bacteria that commonly lives in coastal waters.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified Vibrio vulnificus as Necrotizing fasciitis, which is a flesh-eating disease.
Vibrio vulnificus is a species of bacteria found in undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters, that can cause serious and sometimes fatal illnesses in humans. According to the department's website, there were no similar cases in 2017, while three cases were recorded back in 2016.
The best method of prevention is to simply avoid eating oysters raw. Last year, Florida had 49 infections, and 11 deaths. Other cases result in amputations or death. Whether or not wading in partially salty water or eating raw seafood are worth the risk is an individual decision. That fact was enough to convince him never to eat raw shellfish.