Vibrio and Oysters
You can get very sick from eating raw oysters.
Most Vibrio infections from oysters result in only diarrhea and vomiting. However, some infections, such as those caused by Vibrio vulnificus, can cause more severe illness, including bloodstream infections and severe blistering skin lesions. Many people with V. vulnificus infections require intensive care or limb amputations, and 15-30% of infections are fatal.
It is impossible to tell that an oyster is bad by looking at it.
An oyster that contains harmful bacteria doesn’t look, smell, or even taste different from any other oyster.
You can get sick from eating oysters during any month of the year.
While most vibriosis cases occur during warmer months of the year, cases have been reported year-round.
The only way to kill harmful bacteria in oysters is to cook them properly.
Hot sauce and lemon juice don’t kill Vibrio bacteria. Drinking alcohol while eating oysters doesn’t kill Vibrio bacteria either. Cooking oysters properly kills harmful bacteria.
- Page last reviewed: May 16, 2016
- Page last updated: April 19, 2018
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