A man in his 30s has died after eating raw oysters containing a flesh-eating bacteria.
The unnamed Texan man was believed to have contracted a Vibrio vulnificus infection from eating the deadly oysters, having ingested bacteria which typically lives in warm, coastal waters.
Vibrio infections are believed to be on the rise in the US, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issuing an alert earlier this year.
At least 12 Americans have died from the flesh-eating bacteria so far in 2023.
‘These infections, once they take hold, can spread extremely rapidly like a fire,’ local health official Dr Philip Keiser told ABC.
Dr Kaiser also told the outlet that the victim had been taking some drugs that made him immunosuppressed at the time of his death, and also had problems with his liver.
The doctor, from Galveston County, TX, said the county sees between five to 10 cases every year, and a death ‘every few years.’
Symptoms can include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, cellulitis, and blistering lesions.
There have been eight fatalities reported from the bacteria in Florida this year, while one has also been reported in New York and two in Connecticut.
It is not clear whether the deaths in Florida and New York occurred due to eating the contaminated shellfish or from swimming in open water.
In Connecticut, — which has reported three infections — at least one of the victims was exposed to the bacteria after swimming in the ocean.
Once confined to the Gulf of Mexico, rising sea temperatures have allowed the bacteria to seep into new areas, and scientists fear Vibrio could reach every coastal US state by 2040.
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