A 71-year-old man has died after contracting a bacterial infection from a bad oyster he ate at a Sarasota-area restaurant last week, according to our news partners at WWSB.
The restaurant where the oyster was served was not immediately identified.
Vibrio vulnificus is a naturally occurring bacteria that resides 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.
Vibrio vulnificus is a rare disease but infections will lead to vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, according to the departmentswebsite. Instead they should ensure that their shellfish are cooked thoroughly. Those with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable. There were no reported cases past year, officials said.
If the bacteria enters the bloodstream, the infection can become even more serious with a lethal rate of about 50 percent.
Infections are more likely between May and October when the water is warmer.
This is the first confirmed case of the Vibrio bacteria this year in Sarasota, according to Florida Health. "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.
In Manatee County, there has been one case of flesh-eating bacteria so far in 2018 but no deaths. In 2018, there have been less than five cases reported in Florida, 10Investigates found.
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