A 54-year-old Missouri man passed away on Thursday after contracting a toxic bacteria from consuming raw oysters, according to officials.
The St. Louis County Department of Public Health disclosed Friday that the man became infected after eating oysters he purchased from The Fruit Stand & Seafood, located in the suburb of Manchester.
The specific bacteria responsible for the infection is Vibrio vulnificus, commonly contracted through the consumption of raw or undercooked oysters and other shellfish. This leads to the intestinal disease, vibriosis, symptoms of which include nausea, chills, abdominal pain, and fever.
Although death resulting from vibriosis is rare, it typically occurs in individuals with weakened immune systems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that nearly 80,000 people get vibriosis in the U.S. each year, and about 100 people die from it.
According to a statement from the health department, there is no indication that the establishment played a role in contaminating the oysters, as they were likely already contaminated prior to being received by the business. The department further stated that they are currently conducting an investigation to determine the source of the contaminated oysters.
V. vulnificus is commonly found in warm coastal waters, particularly during the summer months. As sea temperatures continue to rise, it becomes increasingly vital for individuals to exercise caution when eating seafood, particularly raw or undercooked oysters and shellfish.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.