Woman dies from flesh-eating bacteria after eating raw oysters

Posted at 4:36 PM, Jan 08, 2018

Warning: This video contains images that some may find disturbing

LAFAYETTE, La. — A Texas woman who ate raw oysters from a market in Louisiana died after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria, according to KLFY.

Jeannette LeBlanc went crabbing with her friends and family in Louisiana in September and grabbed about two dozen raw oysters at a nearby market. Shortly after eating them, she began to feel sick.

“About 36 hours later she started having extreme respiratory distress, had a rash on her legs and everything,” her wife, Vickie Bergquist, told the Acadiana, Louisiana news station.

At first, they assumed that it was just an allergic reaction, friend Karen Bowers said.

Within 48 hours, however, LeBlanc’s condition went from bad to worse.

According to KLFY, doctors told LeBlanc she had vibriosis – a flesh-eating bacteria.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states most people who become infected with vibriosis do so by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters. It is also possible to contract vibriosis by exposing an open wound to brackish or salt water.

LeBlanc spent 21 days in the hospital before she died on Oct. 15.

“I can’t even imagine going through that for 21 days, much less a day. Most people don’t last,” said Bowers said.

LeBlanc’s friends and family are now raising awareness about vibriosis.

“If they really knew what could happen to them and they could literally die within 48, 36 hours of eating raw oysters, is it really worth it?”  Bowers asked.

“If we had known that the risk was so high, I think she would’ve stopped eating oysters,” Bergquist said.

The CDC says you can reduce your risk of vibriosis by following these tips:

  • Don’t eat raw or undercooked oysters or other shellfish. Cook them before eating.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water after handling raw shellfish.
  • Avoid contaminating cooked shellfish with raw shellfish and its juices.
  • Stay out of brackish or salt water if you have a wound (including cuts and scrapes), or cover your wound with a waterproof bandage if there’s a possibility it could come into contact with brackish or salt water, raw seafood, or raw seafood juices. Brackish water is a mixture of fresh and seawater. It is often found where rivers meet the sea.
  • Wash wounds and cuts thoroughly with soap and water if they have been exposed to seawater or raw seafood or its juices.
  • If you develop a skin infection, tell your medical provider if your skin has come into contact with brackish or salt water, raw seafood, or raw seafood juices.