Recently, a 71-year-old man died after eating what many consider a delicacy: raw oysters. This person is believed to have eaten an oyster at a restaurant in Sarasota, Florida that was contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus.

Human flesh-eating bacteria

Vibrio bacteria cause digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain. But people with underlying medical conditions such as liver disease, diabetes, stomach disorders, or other conditions that weaken the body’s immune response are at higher risk of more serious complications or even death. Anyone with one of these conditions who has symptoms of a Vibrio infection should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Vibrio vulnificus.

Earlier this year, a Texas woman also died after eating raw oysters. While vacationing in Louisiana, Jeannette LeBlanc, along with friends and family, picked up some shellfish, shredded and ate them, and soon developed serious side effects. Over the next few days, she developed shortness of breath and severe rashes and sores. When she arrived at the hospital, she was diagnosed with  Vibriosis , the name for an infection caused by  Vibrio bacteria . LeBlanc battled the disease for three weeks, according to her wife, Vicki Bergquist, and later died of the infection.

Due to the sores caused by Vibrio vulnificus, this bacteria is often dubbed the flesh-eating bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 80,000 people get sick from vibriosis every year, and about 100 of them die. It is estimated that about 52,000 of these cases are caused by eating contaminated food, mainly raw or undercooked shellfish.

Why oysters?

Oysters are eaten by filtering the water. If the water is contaminated with bad bacteria, they can also become contaminated. There are about 12 different species of  Vibrio living in salt or brackish water with which oysters can come into contact. Swimmers are also at risk, but only if contaminated water gets into an open wound or wound. Last year, a man died of vibriosis after going swimming with a new tattoo.

Oysters are also a major culprit in the spread of hepatitis A and norovirus – commonly known as stomach flu. Both infections can cause vomiting and abdominal pain.

According to

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