Florida man infected by oyster? A 71-year-old Sarasota man has died from a bacterial infection days after eating a raw oyster at a Sarasota County restaurant, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The man and the restaurant were not identified, but health department spokesman Steve Huard said the man died July 10.
The bacteria is identified as Vibrio vulnificus, which lives in warm, brackish seawater. Infections are rare but they can be contracted by eating tainted raw shellfish — such as oysters — or by exposing open wounds to salt water.
State health officials advise against going into the water if you have fresh cuts or scrapes.
People with weaker immune systems are at higher risk of infection, so officials also recommend they wear flip-flops, sandals or shoes on the beach to guard against getting cuts and scrapes from shells, rocks and other debris.
Vibrio vulnificus is sometimes referred to as a “flesh-eating bacteria” but health officials say that label is misleading because it cannot attack healthy skin.
Symptoms can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills, rapid pulse, rapid breathing, wound infections and intestinal infections.
This is the first confirmed case and death from Vibrio vulnificus in Sarasota County this year. There were no reported cases last year, officials said.
Broward County had one case last year and a fatality in 2016. Palm Beach County has had one case so far this year, one case last year, and three cases in 2016, with one death, according to the health department website.