A 71-year-old man in Florida died on July 10 after being infected by bacteria that can cause serious gastrointestinal illness and rarely flesh-eating disease (necrotizing fasciitis) from eating a contaminated raw oyster, according to local news reports.
"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.
Vibrio vulnificus is sometimes referred to as a "flesh-eating bacteria" but health officials say that label is misleading because it can not attack healthy skin. Sarasota had no cases in 2017, and had three confirmed cases of the bacteria and a single death from infection in 2016. His name has not been released at this time.
Flesh-eating bacteriaVibrio vulnificus is often located in the shellfish.
Some shellfish fans look out for their health by only eating raw seafood in months ending with an "R", meaning September, October, November and December.
Officials said this was the first confirmed case and death from Vibrio vulnificus in Sarasota County this year, with no reported cases last year, The Sun-Sentinel said. In rare cases, the bacteria can become "flesh eating disease". 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.
Though sometimes labeled a "flesh-eating" bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus can not attack healthy skin, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
They also should not enter the water with an open wound, but should wrap or protect any wounds before entering brackish sea water.
In these instances, many people with the infections have to be admitted into ICU, with between 15 and 30 percent of cases proving to be fatal.
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