Texas Man in His 30s Dies from Flesh-Eating Bacterial Infection After Eating Raw Oysters as Fears Grow After Rapid Surge in Deaths

The man was said to have underlying health problems, which may have contributed to his vulnerability to the Vibrio infection.

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A Texan man has died after eating raw oysters at a restaurant during the Labor Day weekend, FOX 26 reported. According to local health authorities, the man, whose identity has not been revealed, contracted a Vibrio vulnificus infection by injecting the bacteria found in warm, coastal waters and was likely acquired when he consumed the oysters.

Authorities have determined that the cause of the man's death was Vibrio vulnificus, a type of bacteria typically found in seawater that can infect people who consume raw or uncooked cooked shellfish and those who swim in warmer coastal waters, especially if they have an open wound. The man is believed to be in his 30s.

Food Turns Fatal

Vibrio vulnificus
Vibrio vulnificus Twitter

Medical professionals have reported a surge in Vibrio infections across the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued an alert regarding the issue this year. Tragically, at least 12 Americans have lost their lives due to Vibrio infections thus far this year.

While relatively uncommon, with only approximately 150 to 200 such deaths reported to the CDC each year, recent research from Florida Atlantic University has characterized "flesh-eating" Vibrio bacteria as the primary cause of death in humans resulting from marine environments.

Additionally, there is concern among officials as floodwaters from Hurricane Idallia have recently disseminated the bacteria in southern waters.

The man in his thirties, whose identity, as well as the restaurant he dined at, is being shielded by local health authorities, had his meal on Tuesday and was admitted to the hospital two days later. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his illness by the weekend, as per reports.

The man was said to have underlying health problems, which may have contributed to his vulnerability to the Vibrio infection.

"He was taking some drugs that made him immunosuppressed," said Dr. Philip Keiser of the Galveston County Health District, according to ABC 13. "He also had problems with his liver."

"The conditions that he had really predisposed him to an overwhelming infection," Keiser said.

Tracing the Killer

Raw oysters
Raw oysters. Twitter

To gain a better understanding of the situation, Keiser and his department have initiated measures to identify the origin of the contamination.

"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 analyzing them to see if we can find the bug in a particular lot of oysters," he added.

In July, Vibrio bacteria led to the deaths of two people in Connecticut, with one contracting the infection through open wounds in water and the other from consuming raw shellfish from outside the state.

Also, a resident from Suffolk County on Long Island also passed away due to complications related to Vibrio this summer.

Vibrio infections can progress rapidly, causing conditions such as sepsis, shock, and the development of extensive blisters that damage body tissues, as described by the Cleveland Clinic.

Symptoms of Vibrio infections typically manifest within a 24-hour period and may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, confusion, fever, chills, skin redness or rash, fluid-filled blisters, and an elevated heart rate.