Sarasota now blames 'underlying condition' for man's death - FOX 13 News

Sarasota now blames 'underlying condition' for man's death

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Health officials in Sarasota now say a man -- thought to have died as a result of flesh-eating bacteria -- actually died from other medical conditions.

Tuesday, the Sarasota County Health Department issued a warning about the bacteria Vibrio vulnificus, blaming it for one death.

"In Sarasota County…there were two cases reported during July, resulting in one recent death not included in the statewide report," the county's release stated.

At the time, the county said the victim was also suffering from other unspecified medical conditions.

Now, they are saying those other conditions were actually the cause of death for the victim, identified only as a 52-year-old man.

"That individual did have an underlying medical condition making them or susceptible to severe illness, and unfortunately they passed away from that," said Michael Drennon, an epidemiologist with the Sarasota County Health Department.

After the initial release about the death, many people wondered where, specifically, the victim had encountered the bacteria. Now, health officials say it was indeed in the Gulf of Mexico, but we may never know more than that.

"Unfortunately, we weren't able to talk to the person before they passed away so we don't really know where they were exposed," Drennon added.

Every year, several people in Florida contract Vibrio vulnificus, either from contaminated water or through uncooked seafood like raw oysters. Symptoms would be similar to food poisoning and show up about a week later.

There were 41 cases in Florida in 2013, 11 of which were fatal. So far this year there have been 11 cases, including one in Hillsborough County, and at least two deaths.

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