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Man dies after eating raw oysters and contracting flesh-eating bacteria

Man dies after eating raw oysters and contracting flesh-eating bacteria

The man fell ill after purchasing oysters from The Fruit Stand & Seafood in St. Louis, Missouri.

A man has died after eating raw oysters and contracting flesh-eating bacteria.

NBC News reported that the 54-year-old, whose identity is being kept private by officials, fell ill after purchasing oysters from The Fruit Stand & Seafood in the St. Louis suburb of Manchester, Missouri.

The man contracted bacteria known as Vibrio vulnificus, which is usually caused by eating raw or undercooked seafood.

Many people with a Vibrio vulnificus infection require intensive care or limb amputations, and about one in five people with this infection die.

Goss Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Some Vibrio vulnificus infections can lead to necrotising fasciitis, a severe condition in which the flesh around an open wound dies.

The St. Louis County Public Health Department has urged customers who have recently shopped at The Fruit Stand & Seafood to throw their remaining oysters out.

"There is no evidence that the business did anything to contaminate the oysters, which likely were already contaminated when the establishment received them," the health department said in a news release.

They added that they were investigating where the contamination had come from.

According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), there are around 80,000 people who contract Vibrio vulnificus every year, and it causes approximately 100 deaths in the US.

The CDCP advises that you can avoid the illness by not eating raw or undercooked oysters or other shellfish, washing your hands after handling raw shellfish, and not stepping foot into salt water or brackish water if you have a wound.

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Additionally, a study published in the journal Scientific Reports found that infections caused by the illness along the East Coast of the US could double in the next 20 years due to rising sea temperatures.

“Vibrios are naturally occurring and commonly found Gram-negative bacteria in marine waters, which thrive in warm, brackish water and are highly sensitive to temperature,” the report read.

“These associations with climate have led to Vibrio species being collectively recognised as a ‘microbial barometer of climate change’."

The report added that exposure to salt water in small skin lesions could cause the illness, and 10 per cent of cases require urgent surgical tissue removal or limb amputation.

It also revealed that the total annual cost associated with the illness is estimated to be around $320 million (AUD $473m), making it the most expensive marine pathogen in the US to treat.

Featured Image Credit: Perry van Munster / Alamy Stock Photo. Greg Balfour Evans / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News, Health, Food And Drink