Over the course of this year at least 27 Floridians have become sick from infections of Vibrio vulnificus. Vibrio vulnificus is a deadly bacterium that lives in warm and/or brackish seawater. It is the most underreported foodborne pathogen, according to CDC. The infection is commonly associated with eating raw shellfish, such as oysters and often goes unreported by victims.
Symptoms related to Vibrio are diarrhea, vomiting and stomach discomfort. If the infection reaches the bloodstream it can cause fevers, chills and various other symptoms as well. Even contact with seawater while having an open wound can risk contraction of the infection and lead to ulcers and skin damage.
As of October 1st there have been 18 reported victims who contracted the infection and survived. Of those 18, 14 contracted the infection from exposure to seawater. Only two victims reported having eaten raw oysters
There have been nine reported deaths from the infection, of which three are known to have contracted the infection from eating oysters. Other cases are thought to be involving contraction by seawater exposure with an open wound. There are two deaths of which point of exposure are unknown.
The Department of Health advises avoiding the ingestion of raw shellfish and avoiding warm or brackish seawater with an open wound. A comparison of case reports from 2006-2008 and 2012 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a 43% increase in U.S. cases of Vibrio.
We encourage you to be well informed and careful when eating raw shellfish and other foods that carry heightened risk. If you or a loved one have become sick, or injured as a result of eating shellfish or any other foods please call us today!
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. Orlando Food Poisoning Attorneys