He Ate a Bad Oyster, Died 2 Days Later

Saltwater bacteria Vibrio vulnificus claims life in Florida
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2018 9:32 AM CDT
A freshly harvested Apalachicola Bay oyster is seen in Eastpoint, Fla., in 2008.   (AP Photo/Phil Coale, File)

(Newser) – A man dined on oyster at an unnamed restaurant in Florida's Sarasota County, only to die two days later from a deadly bacteria. The 71-year-old died July 10 from a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria Vibrio vulnificus, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Though such infections are rare—only about 205 US cases per year, according to the CDC—the Florida Department of Health notes that exposure is most common from May to October, when the saltwater the bacteria inhabits is warmest. The bacteria can enter the body through open wounds and cause a skin infection, though health official Michael Drennon tells Fox 13 those who consume the bacteria usually display gastrointestinal symptoms.

Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and rapid breathing are among possible reactions. It's unclear what symptoms presented in this case, but officials say other ailments contributed to the man's death. There have been three confirmed deaths in 16 cases of Vibrio vulnificus infections in Florida so far this year, per WFTS. The infection can lead to amputations, carries a fatality rate of up to 30% and, despite rumors, can't be killed with lemon juice, alcohol, or hot sauce, reports the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. In a similar case, CNN reported last week that a New Jersey man was at risk of dying after being infected by Vibrio vulnificus while river fishing for crabs. (The bacteria killed two Florida swimmers in 2015.)

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