The man fell ill from a bacterial infection after consuming raw oysters at a restaurant on August 29
A man is dead after contracting a bacterial infection from consuming raw oysters at a local restaurant in Galveston, Texas, public health officials confirmed.
The unnamed man, believed to be in his 30s to 40s, fell ill after consuming raw oysters at a restaurant on August 29, according to Local Health Authority Dr. Philip Keiser. He was admitted to the hospital on September 1 and died three days later.
Officials have attributed his death to Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria prevalent in warm, coastal waters, which can infect individuals when they consume raw or undercooked shellfish, notably oysters. Additionally, infection can occur through contact with an open wound.
Keiser noted that the individual had a pre-existing liver condition and was undergoing immunosuppressive drug treatment.
On September 1st, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Health Advisory through the Public Health Alert Network (HAN) to alert the public, laboratories, and public health departments about recent instances of fatal infections, encompassing both wound and foodborne infections.
“Vibrio vulnificus, it’s name is actually fraught with meaning because the vulnificus means it’s like a volcano and it refers to the fact that these infections once they take hold can spread extremely rapidly like wildfire,” Keiser said in an interview with KTRK.
Symptoms of Vibrio vulnificus can include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, as well as skin-related symptoms like cellulitis (a painful, red rash on the skin) and blistering lesions.
“Now, in a healthy person we can treat that fairly easily but we have to have what is called a high index of suspicion meaning you gotta think about it,” Keiser said. “And so, for doctors, if you see someone who’s been in the water and they have a rash that is spreading very very fast, almost where they have blisters, you need to think about Vibrio vulnificus and you need to use the appropriate treatment for it.”
Texas isn’t the only area where people are contracting the bacterial infection. In June, a 54-year-old man from Missouri lost his life after consuming raw oysters and contracting Vibrio vulnificus. He had purchased the oysters from Manchester, a town located in St. Louis.
A month later, a 71-year-old man who suffered from “underlying medical conditions” died two days after eating raw oysters at a Sarasota, Fla., restaurant.
Then in August, a series of events unfolded when three individuals — one in New York and two in Connecticut — lost their lives after exposure to Vibrio vulnificus. The two individuals in Connecticut contracted infections after swimming in the Long Island Sound while in New York, the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria was found in the body of a recently deceased man from Suffolk County.
According to the CDC, Vibrio vulnificus is responsible for approximately 80,000 illnesses annually in the United States. Among the numerous Vibrio species, roughly a dozen are known to be harmful to humans.
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