Missouri Man Dies of Flesh-Eating Bacteria After Eating Raw Oysters

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

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health announced in a press release on Friday that a 54-year-old man died from the bacteria Vibrio vulnificus after eating oysters he bought from The Fruit Stand & Seafood, located in Manchester — a town in St. Louis.

The man, whose name has not been revealed, was being treated at St. Claire Hospital before his death. The health department launched an investigation about the incident and said the oyster establishment has been cooperative.

"There is no evidence that the business did anything to contaminate the oysters, which likely were already contaminated when the establishment received them, DPH investigators said. All remaining oysters in the establishment were embargoed by DPH," the release states.

What is Vibrio Vulnificus?

Vibrio is a bacterial infection that people can contract after consuming raw or undercooked seafood — particularly oysters — or exposing a wound to salt water or brackish water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vibriosis is not typically deadly, and causes just about 100 deaths in the U.S. each year, with most infections occurring between the warm months of May and October.

However, the CDC warns that an open wound that comes in contact with the bacteria could lead to necrotizing fasciitis — the flesh-eating bacteria infection, which can lead to amputations or death.

Vibrio can lead to diarrhea, stomach pains, vomiting, fever, nausea and chills, which usually lasts about three days, according to the CDC. It can also cause skin infections when the open wound is exposed to the bacteria. The best treatment is drinking fluids until it passes.

St. Louis County Issues Advisory

Following the news, St. Louis County advised anyone who recently purchased oysters from The Fruit Stand & Seafood to contact the Department of Public Health.

In order to reduce the risk of vibriosis, the CDC also urges the public to avoid eating raw or undercooked shellfish, wash your hands after handling raw shellfish, avoid salt water if you have a wound and wash any wounds thoroughly if they have been exposed to seawater or raw shellfish.

Those who develop any skin infection should seek medical attention immediately.