Texas man in 30s dies from flesh-eating bacteria infection

Texas man in his 30s dies from flesh-eating bacterial infection he caught from eating raw oysters

  • Local health chiefs said the man caught Vibrio vulnificus bacteria
  • He had underlying conditions putting him at greater risk from the infection
  • READ MORE: Floridians warned over higher risk of Vibrio infections 

A Texas man in his 30s has died after eating raw oysters contaminated with a flesh-eating bacteria.

Local health officials said the man, who has not been named, contracted a Vibrio vulnificus infection — having ingested the bacteria that lives in warm, coastal waters when he ate oysters.

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

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.’

A man from Texas in his 30s died after eating raw oysters infected with a deadly flesh-eating bacteria

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. 

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

Floridians warned flesh-eating bacteria lurking in floodwaters 

Floridians are being urged to steer clear of post-hurricane floodwaters because they could contain flesh-eating bacteria 

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

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.

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.

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

The above map shows where cases of Vibrio vulnificus have been detected in the United States between 2008 and 2018. The bacteria is continuing to advance further north amid rising sea temperatures

Florida’s Department of Health is warning residents to be wary of the flesh-eating Vibrio vulnificus that could be lurking in floodwaters

Florida has reported eight fatalities this year, while one has also been reported in New York and two in Connecticut.

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.

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, the bacteria has now seeped into new areas because of rising sea temperatures and scientists fear Vibrio could reach every coastal US state by 2040.

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