Woman dies from flesh-eating bacteria after eating raw oysters


A Texas woman developed a fatal infection with flesh-eating bacteria after eating raw oysters, according to news reports.

The story itself turned out to be true. But, when she went to the hospital, doctors said she had been infected by Vibrio bacteria.

She was likely infected either by eating contaminated oysters or wading in brackish water where the bacteria live. She fought the infection for 21 days, but she ultimately passed away.

Jeanette LeBlanc was on a trip to Louisiana with her wife, Vicki Bergquist, when she shucked and ate about two dozen oysters.

LeBlanc started to show symptoms within 36 hours and had a reddish rash on her leg. Warmer waters (which are becoming more common) make raw oysters even riskier to consume, Bill Marler, a lawyer who focuses on food poisoning cases, previously told Business Insider.

"Our Gulf Coast waters definitely can sustain the growth of this organism", said Dr. Fred Lopez with the Department of Internal Medicine at the LSU School of Medicine.

Food-poisoning experts have advised exercising caution while consuming raw oysters for years.

It turns out that anyone can get sick from vibriosis, but it's rare. About 80% of those infections occur between May and October, when water is particularly warm - ideal for colonies of bacteria to grow and thrive.

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How do you know if the oysters you're about to suck down have the bacteria?

According to the CDC, the victim's family was at the wrong place at the wrong time. "You need to have high, sustained temperatures to kill the organism".

Just months earlier, a MS woman died after she and her husband ate contaminated shellfish.

There are approximately 80,000 vibriosis infections in the United States every year, according to the CDC.

Jeanette LeBlanc died after a three-week battle with vibriosis, an illness typically caused by eating raw seafood, CBS reported.

One specific form of Vibrio bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, is more unsafe. About 1 in 4 people with these serious infections die from the illness.

Within the next 12 hours, LeBlanc became seriously ill. "But in this part of the country, we should be attuned to it".