© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

2nd CT person dies from 'flesh-eating' bacterial infection

Bacterium Vibrio vulnificus, the causative agent of serious seafood-related  and infected wound infections.
Dr_Microbe / 3D illustration / Getty Images
Bacterium Vibrio vulnificus, the causative agent of serious seafood-related and infected wound infections.

A second person has died from an aggressive and extremely rare bacterial infection that prompted a statewide public health alert earlier this summer.

Vibrio vulnificus can cause life-threatening infections that require extensive care or limb amputations. Infections spread through raw or undercooked oysters and seafood or saltwater.

There have been three reported cases of these infections in Connecticut this year. The state announced the first death from the infection on July 28.

Now, another person from that group has died.

“This death occurred in late July,” said Christopher Boyle, DPH spokesperson, in an email Tuesday.

Further details were not immediately available. All three patients were between 60 and 80 years old, state officials said.

Of the three people infected, one reported eating oysters at an out-of-state restaurant. Two others said they had exposure to saltwater in Long Island Sound, which they entered with open wounds.

Some vibrio vulnificus infections can kill the flesh around the open wound. That’s led to the “flesh-eating bacteria” moniker for this type of infection, even though “necrotizing fasciitis can be caused by more than one type of bacteria,” the CDC says.

About one in five people with vibrio vulnificus infections die, the CDC says.

While mortality rates for this illness are very high, the infections are exceedingly rare.

Five cases were reported in 2020 in Connecticut. There were no reported cases in 2021 and 2022, according to the DPH.

To avoid getting sick, don’t eat raw or undercooked seafood and avoid going in saltwater if you have a wound, the CDC says.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content