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Texas man in his 30’s dies from flesh eating bacteria eating raw oysters

Texas man dies from flesh eating bacteria eating raw oysters
Galveston County, Texas man in his 30's dies from flesh eating bacteria eating raw oysters
Texas man dies from flesh eating bacteria eating raw oysters
Galveston County, Texas man in his 30’s dies from flesh eating bacteria eating raw oysters

Galveston County, Texas man in his 30’s dies from flesh eating bacteria eating raw oysters as Vibrio vulnificus continues to thrive in increasingly warm waters along the South-East of the U.S. 

Texas man in his 30s is reported to have died after eating raw oysters contaminated with a flesh-eating bacteria. The man’s death comes amid warmer ocean waters having led to a rise of vibrio vulnificus, commonly found in raw shellfish.

Local health officials in a release said the un-identified man, hailing from Galveston County contracted a Vibrio vulnificus infection — having ingested the bacteria that lives in warm, coastal waters upon having eaten oysters.

Doctors say Vibrio infections are rising across the US, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCissuing an alert last month. At least 12 Americans have died from Vibrio infections so far this year.

Victim was high risk potential but warnings persist

Dr Philip Keiser, from Galveston County Health Department, which reported the fatality, told ABC13: ‘These infections, once they take hold, can spread extremely rapidly — like a fire.’

The patient had a liver condition and was on immuno-suppressant drugs — which put him at high risk of becoming severely ill from the infection. 

‘A couple weeks ago, he went to a local restaurant and had a whole plate full of uncooked oysters,’ Dr Keiser stated, adding, ‘that was on a Tuesday, and then on Thursday he started getting sick with some gastrointestinal-like illnesses and got much worse overnight. He was in the hospital by Friday.’

Dr Keiser said Galveston county usually records five to 10 Vibrio infections a year and a death ‘every few years.’

It was not clear when the man died or where he had purchased the raw oysters. 

‘Vibrio infections are rare and usually occur in people who have underlying health conditions including such as liver disease, immunosuppression, or diabetes,’ the Galveston County Health District’s (GCHD) said in Friday’s news release.

Rising water temperatures infecting shellfish and oysters

Those who are immune suppressed, have liver disease, and/or diabetes are asked to refrain from consuming raw shellfish and recreating in coastal waters.

Nevertheless questions remain how safe it is even for healthy individuals to consume raw oysters emanating from coastal waters with rising water temperatures.

Vibrio vulnificus lives in warm, coastal waters and can contaminate shellfish, like oysters, when it enters them as they filter the surrounding water.

Humans can be exposed to the bacteria by eating infected seafood or by swimming in contaminated waters with an open cut or wound.

In cases where patients ingest the bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus is not broken down by stomach acid and can reach the small intestine.

Once there, it quickly multiplies and attacks the surrounding tissue.

The infection progresses rapidly and, within days, can trigger septic shock and death.

About one in three patients diagnosed with a Vibrio infection do not survive, according to the CDC.

Vibrio-induced illness can occur between a few hours and seven days after becoming infected with vibrio, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, TDSHS website.

Patients who become infected with the bacteria from food will show symptoms within hours including nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting.

As the infection progresses, they also experience a high fever, chills and sepsis — the body’s extreme and potentially deadly reaction to an infection

Doctors treat a Vibrio vulnificus infection by using antibiotics and, in some cases, surgery to cut out infected tissue.

A series of recent deaths and contaminations

The Texas man was at least the twelfth person to die from a Vibrio infection in the US this year.

Last month three deaths in the New York area were also linked to the vibrio bacteria, The New York Times reported.

Florida has reported eight fatalities this year, with Connecticut reporting two fatalities.

It was not clear whether the deaths in Florida and New York were due to eating shellfish contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus or swimming in open water.

Once confined to the Gulf of Mexico, the bacteria has now seeped into new areas because of rising sea temperatures as scientists now fear Vibrio could reach every coastal US state by 2040.