Man dies of bacterial infection after eating tainted oyster at Florida restaurant

Oysters are pictured on the Re Island, where an automatic oyster vending machine is set at l'huitriere de Re in Ars en Re, Southwestern France, August 2, 2017.
Regis Duvignau | Reuters

A 71-year-old man died on July 10 from a bacterial infection after eating a tainted oyster at a restaurant in Sarasota, Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The illness was caused by Vibrio vulnificus, officials said. Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that can be contracted by eating raw shellfish, particularly oysters, or by exposing open wounds to seawater.

The man had underlying medical conditions, a Florida Department of Health spokesman told WTLV-TV. The name of the restaurant that served the oyster has not been released.

The man died two days after eating the tainted oyster, WWSB reported.

Though sometimes labeled a "flesh-eating" bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus cannot attack healthy skin, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Vibrio vulnificus infections are rare, the Florida Department of Health said, but they can be especially serious for people with weakened immune systems. The bacterium naturally occurs in warm, brackish seawater.

The department recommends avoiding raw shellfish and staying out of warm seawater if you have an open wound.

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