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FEATURE NEWS

Man Dies After Eating Oyster
Tainted By Bacteria
That naturally occurs in seawater

July 19, 2018




Raw oyster photo by Naotake Murayama from San Francisco, CA, USA (Lic. Creat Commons 2.0)
Chronicle staff

(SARASOTA, FLA.) –- The Florida Department of Health says a 71-year old man died from a bacterial infection after eating a tainted oyster at a restaurant in Sarasota.

The man passed away on July 10 from a life-threatening illness caused by Vibrio vulnificus, a  bacterium that can be contracted by eating raw shellfish, particularly oysters, or by exposing open wounds to seawater.

Health officials say the man did have underlying health conditions, according to a report by WTLV-TV in Sarasota.

Local broadcast and published reports said Vibrio vulnificus infections are rare, but the health department says they can be particularly serious for people with weakened immune systems.

The bacterium naturally occurs in warm, brackish seawater. The Florida Department of Health recommends that people avoid eating raw shellfish, avoid cross-contamination of cooked seafood with raw seafood and staying out of warm seawater if you have an open wound.

According to WTLV, this is the first confirmed case and death of Vibrio vulnificus in Sarasota County this year. The county did not have any cases or deaths in 2017. There were three confirmed cases and one death in 2016.

FDA says raw oysters from Canada the likely source of illness outbreak in US this year

In May of this year U.S. government health officials said raw Canadian oysters were likely the source of a norovirus outbreak that sickened people in both Canada and the United States.

On Tuesday May 1st the California Department of Public Health said approximately 100 people in that state got sick eating oysters that were harvested from Baynes Sound in British Columbia.

The agency said several people had tested positive for the norovirus which is a highly contagious infection that inflames the stomach and/or intestines and often results in stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and fever.

In addition, close to 200 people in Canada had reported gastrointestinal illness associated with the outbreak and the Pubic Health Agency of Canada said multiple people there had tested positive for norovirus.

Two days later the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers that the problem might extend beyond California and Canada.

The FDA said it had confirmed that the oysters linked to the outbreaks were also distributed to Washington State, Alaska, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York and they may have reached other states as well.

Oysters can cause various food-related illnesses if eaten raw, particularly in people with compromised immune systems. Food contaminated with noroviruses may look, smell, and taste normal.





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