A 54-year-old Missouri man died after eating raw oysters from a food stand, according to the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.
The unidentified man was treated at St. Claire’s Hospital and died Thursday.
The culprit is a bacterium known as Vibrio vulnificus which “can be carried by oysters and shellfish,” health officials said in a statement.
Investigators also concluded that “there is no evidence that the business did anything to contaminate the oysters, which likely were already contaminated when the establishment received them.”
Vibriosis, the disease caused by the bacteria, can cause nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping, and fever. Death traditionally only occurs in people with a weakened immune system, but the bacterium is still responsible for 95% of seafood related deaths and has a mortality rate of 33%.
The bacterium is traditionally found in warm waters during the summer months and is not transferable from person to person. Infected people typically begin to experience symptoms 12 to 72 hours after consumption and symptoms tend to come on quickly.
The Center of Disease Control advises reducing your chances of contracting Vibriosis by; not consuming raw shellfish or food in contact with raw shellfish, do not swim in brackish water with open cuts and to thoroughly wash your hands before and after preparing shellfish.
According to the CDC, 80,000 Americans are infected with vibriosis annually and around 100 die from it.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.