A Galveston County man died from an infection after eating raw oysters at a local restaurant in Texas. The man had underlying health conditions that predisposed him to a vibrio infection.
The man ate about a dozen or more raw oysters on Aug. 29 and felt sick, reporting abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. He was admitted to the Hospital Aug. 31 and died over Labor Day weekend.
According to the Galveston County Health district, the man would have been in his 30s and had problems with his liver. “He also had some other problems, and he had to take some medication that suppressed his immune system,” Dr. Philip Keiser, local health authority for Galveston County, told FOX 26. “It just so happens that the conditions that he had really predisposed him to an overwhelming infection with Vibrio vulnificus.”
The bacteria are usually present in salt and brackish waters, and it prefers warm waters, so in summer there are more infections caused by it. Also, the bacteria can be present in war shellfish or food in contact with it.
The infection is rare, but it is more likely in people with liver problems, immunosuppression, or diabetes.
“About half the cases we see are people who get into the water, they cut their foot on a shell or stone and then the bacteria gets into their foot, and before you know it, it’s literally within a day or two and they have a raging infection that’s spreading up their leg and (they) end up in the hospital,”Dr. Keiser said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises to reduce the chance of contracting vibriosis by not consuming raw shellfish and to not swim in brackish water with open cuts. According to the CDC, vibrio causes about 80,000 infections in the US each year.