Woman dies after contracting flesh-eating bacteria from oysters
Woman dies after contracting flesh-eating bacteria from oysters
Jeanette LeBlanc 55, died on October 15- 21 days after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria on a trip to Louisiana
09 January, 2018, 05:07
After shucking and eating roughly two dozen raw oysters with her wife and a friend, LeBlanc began having respiratory distress and a rash, which she and her wife initially assumed were signs of an allergic reaction.
Most infections happen between May and October and common symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, fever and chills.
According to the CDC, it is impossible to tell if an oyster is infected with vibriobacteria simply by looking at it.
Those who ingest a certain strain of the bacteria, known as vibrio vulnificus, can get seriously ill and might need intensive care or limb amputation. This infection can cause blistering skin lesions, bloodstream infections, and necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease, which causes soft tissue to die) if a wound gets infected.
When treatment is possible, understanding that flesh-eating disease has been caused by Vibrio is important, since it's treated differently from other bacteria.
LeBlanc's friends and family are now raising awareness about vibriosis. Still, it's unclear how she was infected.
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While eating raw oysters is commonplace and the risk is low, it is not negligible. You can't know. An oyster that contains the vibrio bacteria doesn't look, taste or smell any different from an oyster that doesn't have the bacteria, according to the CDC.
LeBlanc spent 21 days in the hospital. Hurricane floodwaters after Harvey resulted in at least one fatality from flesh-eating bacteria and there were several Vibrio deaths after Katrina.
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Undercooked seafood increases the chance of conracting the bacteria. Most outbreaks occur between the months of May and October. That fact was enough to convince him never to eat raw shellfish. Severe cases-like LeBlanc's-can be fatal. Whether or not wading in partially salty water or eating raw seafood are worth the risk is an individual decision.
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