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Texas man in his 30s dies after eating raw oysters at restaurant

The man was admitted to the hospital on Thursday and died over Labor Day weekend

Martha McHardy
Wednesday 13 September 2023 11:44 BST
Man dies after eating raw oysters; COVID-19 update

A man in his 30s has died from a bacterial infection after eating raw oysters at a restaurant in Galveston.

The Galveston County Local Health Authority said that the man from Texas, who has not been named, consumed several raw oysters while dining at an unidentified food joint on Tuesday 29 August.

He was admitted to the hospital that Thursday and died over Labor Day weekend.

The Texas resident is believed to have had underlying health issues, authorities said.

“He 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 with the Galveston County Local Health Authority said.

“It just so happens that the conditions that he had really predisposed him to an overwhelming infection with vibrio vulnificus.”

His death comes just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning about swimming in the abnormally warm Gulf of Mexico and eating raw shellfish due to high temperatures multiplying vibrio vulnificusa – a type of flesh-eating bacteria that naturally occurs in water where oysters live.

Investigators are now working to identify the source of the bacteria which infected the Texas man.

“We’ve actually gone to the restaurant where he was eating, and we pulled the oysters from the shelf. There are tags to them, so we can identify the lots, and the state is actually analysing them to see if we can find the bug in a particular lot of oysters,” Dr Keiser said.

Health authorities have warned that the vibrio vulnificus bacterium found in oysters has been exacerbated by the extreme heat and warmer than usual coastal waters this summer.

A man has died from a bacterial infection after eating raw oysters in Galveston (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Those who become infected with the bacteria may experience nausea, vomiting, and develop a rash that quickly spreads.

Authorities urge anyone who experiences similar symptoms after eating raw seafood or being exposed to coastal waters to see a doctor immediately.

This latest fatality comes after a 54-year-old man died in June after eating raw oysters purchased from a seafood stand in Missouri.

The oysters were believed to have already been contaminated with the vibrio vulnificus bacteria when they arrived at the food stand.

Last year, two people also died from vibrio bacteria after consuming uncooked oysters in Florida.

In total, vibrio vulnificus bacteria causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths every year, according to the CDC.

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