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Man dies after eating raw oyster at seafood restaurant

Emily Brown

Published 
| Last updated 

Man dies after eating raw oyster at seafood restaurant

A customer at a restaurant in Florida has died after eating a raw oyster found to be contaminated with a bacteria known as vibrio vulnificus.

The man, who has not been named but is said to be from South Florida, had visited the popular Rustic Inn Crabhouse in Fort Lauderdale earlier this month and was one of many customers that day to order the oysters.

He ended up being the only customer who got sick, having to be hospitalised before he passed away.

Gary Oreal, manager of the Rustic Inn, said the customer had worked at the restaurant about two decades ago before coming back to dine there.

Speaking to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, he said the restaurant served as many as 100 dozen oysters that day, and said he feels 'horrible' that the man 'had that one in a billion that was bad'.

After the man was hospitalised, inspectors from the Florida Department of Health came to look at the kitchen and examine the oyster inventory at the Rustic Inn.

Oreal assured: “We passed with flying colours and we were allowed to continue to sell oysters."

The restaurant also passed an inspection in late July.

The oyster that caused the illness was determined to have been contaminated with vibrio vulnificus; a bacteria which internal medicine specialist Dr Ade Bamgboye said is seen in shellfish 'harvested from salty or brackish water'.

Dr. Bamgboye told CBS News most people can fight off the infection, but it can be deadly to those who have underlying conditions such as a suppressed immune system caused by cancer fought with chemotherapy treatment, or HIV or diabetes..

The customer was the only one to get ill after eating the oysters. Credit: City Image/Alamy Stock Photo
The customer was the only one to get ill after eating the oysters. Credit: City Image/Alamy Stock Photo

The Rustic Inn has signs in the venue and on menus warning diners that eating raw shellfish may increase the risk of food-borne illness, with Oreal describing the dish as 'top of the mountain for dangerous foods to eat'.

“I have eaten them my entire life, and will continue. But you are putting yourself at risk when you do it," he added

The oysters now being served at the restaurant are from Louisiana, Oreal said, adding: “If there was a problem with the oyster bed we would know it because others would have gotten sick.”

He added: "Over the course of 60 years, we have served a couple billion oysters, and we never had anyone get sick like this guy did."

The Florida Department of Health website reveals there have been 26 cases of people being infected with vibrio vulnificus after eating raw shellfish in 2022. Six of the people who became ill later died.

Just last week, another man from Pensacola died after contracting the bacteria from oysters.

LADbible has reached out to The Rustic Inn for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Chocoholic/Stockimo/Alamy Stock Photo/Rustic Inn

Topics: Food And Drink, US News, Health

Emily Brown
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