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What Is Vibrio and Should It Be the Reason You Avoid Raw Oysters?

Vibrio is a deadly form of food poisoning.


Move over Salmonella, there's a new type of food poisoning that diners should be worried about. According to the Huffington Post, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report on Friday warning of the increase in cases of Vibrio. While the rates of Salmonella and Listeria remained the same, and E.coli decreased, Vibrio poisonings shot up by 52 percent between the 2006-2008 period of measurement and the 2011-2013 period.

Vibrio is one of the most serious types of food poisoning around. Nearly half of the people infected by the more serious strain are killed by the bacteria. Others are left with "life-altering disabilities, including amputations." Most infections are spread through the consumption of raw shellfish, especially oysters. Cooking seafood "throughly" kills the bacteria, so fans of fried oyster po-boys are safe.

The Huffington Post writes the reason Vibrio poisonings are up is two fold. First, there has been a growing demand for fresh oysters by diners at restaurants. Secondly, Vibrio flourishes in warm water. Scientists believe that climate change has lead to rapid bacteria growth in areas that it is commonly found, and that climate change is bringing the bacteria to "waters that were once too cold to sustain them." While the number of cases is on the rise, Vibrio is still rare: About 1 in 222,222 Americans will be infected. Plus, you can still eat fried oysters, some of which may even contain a jewelry box worth of pearls.

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