Man dies from infection that he got from eating oyster in Sarasota

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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.

Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that can be contracted by eating raw shellfish, particularly oysters, or by exposing open wounds to seawater.

The name of the restaurant where the man ate the oyster was not released.

The report said the Sarasota man died from a gastro-intestinal illness.

Though sometimes labeled a "flesh-eating" bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus can not attack healthy skin, the Sun-Sentinel reported. The bacterium usually thrives in warm and blackish sea water. Drennon warned: "We tell everybody regardless of age or immune status that they should avoid eating raw or undercooked shell fish or seafood or avoid being in the saltwater when they have an open wound or lesion on their body". In this particular case, the infection with this pathogen has resulted in severe gastrointestinal symptoms that eventually led to death.

This is the first case and fatality involving flesh eating bacteria in Sarasota County this year.

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Make sure to never eat raw shellfish and always choose cooked oysters or clams when dining out.

The most common symptoms of Vibrio vulnificus infection include diarrhea as well as vomiting which can get worse and can reach to a point where the patient needs to get hospitalised.

Healthy individuals will normally develop a mild disease from infection, health officials said.

Others who should avoid consuming raw shellfish are those with hemochromatosis (iron overload), diabetes, cancer, stomach disorders or any illness or treatment that weakens the immune system. In 2017, there were two cases and also no fatalities.

Suspected cases of Vibrio vulnificus need to be immediately treated with antibiotics to improve their survival.