File this under: NEWS I DO NOT WANT TO BE TRUE. Two people have died in Florida, one in Fort Lauderdale and one in Pensacola, after eating raw oysters from Louisiana that were infected with Vibrio bacteria. The AP explains:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Vibrio bacteria doesn't make an oyster look, smell, or taste any different. The agency said about 80,000 people get vibriosis in the U.S. each year, and about 100 people die from it.
Gary Oreal, who manages the Rustic Inn, the restaurant in Fort Lauderdale where one customer died after eating oysters, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that, "Oysters are top of the mountain for dangerous foods to eat . . . I have eaten them my entire life, and will continue. But you are putting yourself at risk when you do it."
The AP further explains the risk:
The Florida Department of Health says 26 people have become infected with the bacteria and six of them later died after eating raw shellfish, including oysters, so far this year. In 2021, 10 people died out of 34 people sickened. In 2020, there were seven deaths among the 36 who became ill.
Infections linked to the bacteria are common in oysters and raw seafood during the summer months when water temperatures are warmer, University of West Florida Professor Robert "Wes" Farr told the Pensacola News Journal. "Serious infection is rare, but the risk is still there," Farr said.
I'm from Louisiana, so I absolutely love raw oysters, and have eaten them my whole life. This news makes me really sad, and it's pretty scary. It's also another reminder to avoid raw oysters when the weather is warm, or maybe just eat them broiled, baked, steamed, or fried instead.