2022 has been a deadly year for eating oysters in Florida – Daily News

Those sweet shellfish may be tempting, but eating oysters in Florida has been dangerous this year.

Oysters have sickened people in the Sunshine State with three different types of illnesses, at least one of them deadly.

Federal officials issued a warning last week for raw oysters harvested in Galveston Bay, Texas, and sold in Florida, along with seven other states. The oysters were potentially contaminated with norovirus and sold to restaurants and retailers. About 211 people were infected by the oysters and had diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain within 12 to 48 hours after eating them.

Publix Supermarkets said it had sold the shell-on oysters in its fresh seafood display case at its Publix and Publix Greenwise locations and warned the public of the recall.

Southport Raw Bar & Restaurant stopped selling oysters from the Gulf last week. “We got notification about the recall so we are no longer using oysters from the Gulf and getting them from Connecticut and Maryland instead,” manager Mike Cudnik said.

The recall of Texas oysters that sickened people comes a few weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a recall of a brand of frozen raw oysters harvested in an area of South Korea and distributed in 13 states including Florida. The agency said the oysters from South Korea are suspected of causing sapovirus infections, which is acute gastroenteritis causing vomiting and diarrhea.

This summer, oysters from Louisiana sickened Floridians. A Broward County man died after eating a raw oyster from Louisiana at a Fort Lauderdale seafood restaurant. It was the second death in Florida within weeks from Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria that lives in coastal waters and typically sickens people through the consumption of raw shellfish or by entering an open wound, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Broward man had eaten oysters during a birthday celebration and two days later developed a fever and abdominal pain. At the hospital, he tested positive for Vibrio vulnificus. After a week of emergency surgeries and a double amputation, he was pronounced dead.

“It still doesn’t feel completely real,” his daughter told the Sun Sentinel. “I don’t know how an oyster could cause all of this.”

A few weeks earlier, a Pensacola man died from a vibrio vulnificus infection from eating a raw oyster he had purchased at a seafood market.

Florida already has set a record in 2022 for illness and deaths from Vibrio vulnificus. The bacteria sickened 90 people in the state and led to at least 16 deaths. In 2021, the bacteria sickened 44 people, 10 of whom died from it

Vibrio bacteria naturally inhabits coastal waters and can concentrate inside shellfish and other seafood that live in these waters. Cooking kills the bacteria, but some illnesses have been reported in undercooked oysters.

The state tracks only the total numbers of infections or deaths from Vibrio vulnificus and does not differentiate whether they occur from shellfish consumption or an open wound.

The Florida Department of Health attributes some of the infections and deaths from Vibrio in 2022 to people wading in flood waters after Hurricane Ian, particularly in Lee County.

“Vibrio vulnificus can cause infection in those who have an open wound that is exposed to seawater containing the bacteria,” said Jae Williams, press secretary for the Florida Department of Health. “All it takes is a nick or scrape to present an opportunity for the bacteria to take root.”

Source link