Florida resident dies from bacterial infection after eating oyster

Florida resident dies from bacterial infection after eating oyster

Sarasota, Fla. - Health officials say a man died from a bacterial infection after eating a bad oyster in Sarasota last week.

The Florida Department of Health tells WFLA the 71-year-old man died on July 10 of Vibrio vulnificus after consuming a bad oyster at a restaurant two days earlier. The name of the restaurant was not released.

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"Vibrio vulnificus is often mislabeled as flesh-eating bacteria but it is very important to note that it is not flesh-eating bacteria". And, anyone eating shellfish should make sure their food is thoroughly cooked. While infections are rare, people can contract the bacteria by eating contaminated raw shellfish, or by exposing open wounds such as cuts or scrapes to water. "That's usually not the case when someone consumes the bacteria", Drennon said. But an infection can become more serious, leading to lethal in those with a compromised immune system, especially folks suffering from chronic liver disease. "So far this year, there have been a total of 16 cases of Vibrio vulnificus statewide with three confirmed deaths". "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", said Michael Drennon, Disease Intervention Services Program Manager at the Sarasota County Health Dept.

Pinellas County has had no cases this year. There were four confirmed cases in 2017 and one in 2016, with no deaths. In 2018, there have been less than five cases reported in Florida, 10Investigates found.

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