Sarasota man dies from flesh-eating bacteria after eating raw oysters

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A 71-year-old man has died after eating raw oysters in a Florida restaurant.

The local health department said the unidentified man died on July 10 from vibrio, a bacteria usually seen from undercooked oysters, reports WFLA yesterday, July 18. The name of the restaurant that served the oyster has not been released.

Flesh eating bacteria, or Vibrio vulnificus, is naturally occurring bacteria found in warm, brackish seawater.

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. Florida health officials say anyone with open wounds should keep them covered with clean, dry bandages when swimming.

You can also prevent Vibrio vulnificus infections by not eating raw oysters or other shellfish, avoiding cross-contamination of cooked seafood with raw seafood.

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Symptoms can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills, rapid pulse, rapid breathing, wound infections and intestinal infections.

"The summer time, May, June July there are no R's in there the water's warmer so the bacteria that's potentially hazardous to some people is more prevalent", Alton said.

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.

This is the first confirmed case of the Vibrio bacteria this year in Sarasota, according to Florida Health. Most cases are unpleasant but resolve within a few days, but infections from the species Vibrio vulnificus cause a "flesh-eating" or necrotizing fasciitis condition that kills up to 30% of those infected. In 2016, Manatee County had two cases, while Sarasota County had three cases and one fatality.

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