After eating raw oysters at a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a customer died of a bacterial infection. This month, a man in Pensacola died in the same manner. Both incidents involved Louisiana oysters.
Gary Oreal, manager of the Rustic Inn, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the deceased used to work at the restaurant known worldwide for garlic crabs.
“Over the course of 60 years, we have served a couple billion oysters, and we never had anyone get sick like this guy did,” Oreal said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vibrio bacteria has no effect on how an oyster looks, smells, or tastes. According to the agency, approximately 80,000 people in the United States contract vibriosis each year, with approximately 100 deaths.
According to Dr. Ade Bamgboye, an internal medicine specialist at HCA Florida Northwest Hospital, most people can fight off an infection, but it can be fatal for those with underlying conditions.
The Florida Department of Health inspected the restaurant’s kitchen and inspected its oyster stock the day following the man becoming ill, according to Oreal.
“We passed with flying colors and we were allowed to continue to sell oysters,” he said, adding the oysters being served currently are from Louisiana. “If there was a problem with the oyster bed we would know it because others would have gotten sick.”
A sign in the restaurant warns customers about the dangers of eating raw shellfish.
According to the state health department, 26 people have been afflicted with the bacteria this year, with 6 of them dying as a result of eating raw shellfish, which includes oysters. In 2021, 10 people died out of 34 people who became ill. There were 7 deaths among the 36 people who became ill in 2020.
According to the Pensacola News Journal, a man in Pensacola died last week after contracting the bacteria from oysters he purchased at a market. Officials said the oyster also came from Louisiana.