OYSTER-lovers in Florida are being told to give up their favourite food or risk death, particularly if they suffer from a liver disease. A bacterium hazardous to people with liver disease or a compromised immune system has been found in high concentrations in the warm waters of the Florida coast.

Vibrio vulnificus, which gets into oysters, claimed 44 lives in Florida between 1981 and 1992, says a report in New Scientist; 35 of the deaths were associated with eating raw oysters.