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DANGEROUS bacterial infection leads to all FOUR limbs of a US woman being amputated

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday, September 16, 2023, issued a warning about a bacterial infection that people can get by eating raw or undercooked fish after a San Jose woman likely got this specific infection after eating undercooked tilapia.

Laura Barajas, 40, has had all four of her limbs amputated while battling a bacterial infection she contracted from eating raw tilapia.

Barajas was initially hospitalized in July 2023 with a high fever, chills, and body aches. She was later diagnosed with Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria that can cause serious illness, especially in people with weakened immune systems.

The woman’s condition rapidly deteriorated, and she developed sepsis, a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to an infection. Doctors were forced to amputate both of her legs and both of her arms in order to save her life.

“It’s just been really heavy on all of us. It’s terrible. This could’ve happened to any of us,” said Barajas’ friend Anna Messina, according to Kron4.

“She almost lost her life. She was on a respirator,” Messina said. 

“They put her into a medically induced coma. Her fingers were black, her feet were black her bottom lip was black. She had complete sepsis and her kidneys were failing.”

“Be thankful for what we have right now because it can be taken away so quickly so easily,” Messina said.

The woman is now recovering at home, but she faces a long and difficult road ahead. She will need to learn to live without her limbs and undergo extensive rehabilitation.

The woman’s case is a reminder of the dangers of eating raw or undercooked seafood. Vibrio vulnificus is a common bacteria found in saltwater, and it can cause illness in people who eat raw or undercooked seafood, particularly shellfish such as oysters, clams, and mussels.

“The ways you can get infected with this bacteria are one-you can eat something that’s contaminated with it the other way is by having a cut or tattoo exposed to water in which this bug lives,” said Dr. Natasha Spottiswoode, UCSF Infectious Disease Expert.

“People should take sensible precautions like if you have a cut avoid getting immersed in water until it’s well healed,” Spottiswoode said. 

“If you are someone immunocompromised keeping an eye on these things and avoiding those high-risk activities and foods.”

Symptoms of Vibrio vulnificus infection can include:

Fever

Chills

Nausea

Vomiting

Diarrhea

Abdominal cramps

Blisters or skin lesions

If you experience any of these symptoms after eating seafood, seek medical attention immediately.

Here are some tips to help prevent Vibrio vulnificus infection:

Avoid eating raw or undercooked seafood.

Cook seafood to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius).

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling seafood.

Clean and disinfect all surfaces that come into contact with seafood.

If you have any questions about Vibrio vulnificus infection or seafood safety, please talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider.

After setting up a GoFundMe to help with her friend’s medical expenses, Messina and Barajas’ family have so far raised more than $20,000.

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