A 71 year old man has died due to contracting a bacterial infection after eating raw oysters at a restaurant in Florida, said the health officials.

As per the Florida Health Department, the illness was caused as a result of the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, which can be contracted due to eating raw shellfish, especially oysters or by exposing any of the open wounds to the seawater.

The man had the tainted oysters on July 8 at a restaurant in Sarasota, Florida and died two days later. However, the department did not reveal the name of the restaurant.

The man already had a few underlying health conditions, said a spokesperson of the Florida Health Department.

Michael Drennon, the Sarasota County Health Department’s Disease Intervention Services Program Manager said that the man, who ate the raw oysters, reportedly did not have any exposure to sea water but fell sick due to the bacteria and passed away.

The health officials have urged people, regardless of their age or their immune status, to avoid eating seafood or undercooked or raw shellfish and staying away from seawater in case they have an open lesion or wound on their body.

The most common symptoms of Vibrio vulnificus infection include diarrhea as well as vomiting which can get worse and can reach to a point where the patient needs to get hospitalised. In a few rare cases, the virus is labelled as ‘flesh-eating’ bacteria. The Vibrio vulnificus bacterium does not attack healthy skin but for people who have a weakened immune system, the condition can become worse. The bacterium usually thrives in warm and blackish sea water.

The matter is currently being investigated by the health officials who are trying to collect as much of information as they can from the restaurant that served the tainted oysters.

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