71-Year-old man forced to have his arm amputated after 'eating raw seafood'

71-Year-old man forced to have his arm amputated after 'eating raw seafood'

I don't know about you, but when you're having a tiring and testing week and you just want to forget the world, there's very few things in life that come close to a nice, hot meal. Fresh pasta, a rich and succulent pie; just writing about them is making me feel hungry, and it's only just gone 10:30 in the morning.

That being said, some cold food has its merits, too. Ice cream and cereal, for example, are two foods that just wouldn't be the same if you stuck them in an oven for 20 minutes, while those of you with a slightly more cultured palate have probably tried tartare or sushi - raw beef or fish, respectively.

Raw steak tatar with egg yolk, diced onion, capers and chives Credit: Getty

For the most part, it's fine to eat these two animal products raw, but one man had a rather unexpected reaction to some raw seafood, and ended up losing an arm in the process. The New England Journal of Medicine (via Newsweek) brings to our attention the story of a South Korean man, who reported to the emergency room after two days of fever, with intense pain in his left arm.

After asking the man few questions, healthcare professionals discovered that 12 hours beforehand, the man had eaten raw seafood, and when they took a look at the arm in question, they found something rather horrifying. His hand was the home of a massive purple blister, measuring 1.4 by 1.8 inches.

Not the best.

Officials in South Korea did everything they could to help the man with his infection, attempting to combat the infection by performing emergency surgery, but unfortunately for the man, the blisters began to develop into necrotic ulcers. 25 days after first being admitted to the hospital, the 71-year-old was forced to have his arm amputated.

According to the NEJM, the patient in question here had a slew of health issues, including type 2 diabetes and end-stage renal disease, and he is believed to have been infected with vibrio vulnificus, a type of bacteria which is in the same family as the one responsible for cholera.

Vibrio vulnificus Infection Credit: The New England Journal of Medicine

Typically, vibrio vulnificus is both foodborne and waterborne, and as such is usually contracted through contact with seafood - with oysters carrying the highest risk of infection. Newsweek reports that while encounters with the bacteria are usually quite rare, the likelihood of infection is increased in hurricanes, storm surges and coastal flooding. The bacteria thrives in a warm climate, so infection is most likely between the months of May and October.

While it's easy to put this down as yet another reason to avoid raw fish entirely, it's important to note here that the man infected with vibrio vulnificus was suffering from a number of health issues at an advanced age, and as such was more susceptible to infection than a younger person with a clean bill of health. Still, it's important to remember the risks of raw seafood, so make sure to stick to fresh raw seafood to minimise the risk of infection.