California woman loses hands, legs after eating undercooked Tilapia fish

California woman loses hands, legs after eating undercooked Tilapia fish

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  • September 18, 2023
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A woman in California had to have all of her limbs amputated after eating undercooked tilapia fish that had been contaminated with a lethal strain of bacteria, the New York Post reported.

Laura Barajas, a 40-year-old mother, spent more than a month in the hospital fighting an infection of Vibrio vulnificus bacteria before having all of her limbs removed during a lifesaving surgery, the report said.

“It’s just been really heavy on all of us. It’s terrible. This could’ve happened to any of us,” KRON reported Barajas’ friend Anna Messina as saying.

Messina said Barajas became sick after eating the fish that she had purchased at a local market in San Jose and made for herself at home.

“She almost lost her life. She was on a respirator,” Messina was reported as saying.

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

Messina said Barajas contracted Vibrio vulnificus, a potentially deadly bacterium commonly found in raw seafood and seawater. This underscores the critical importance of properly preparing and handling seafood to avoid such severe health risks.

“The ways you can get infected with this bacteria are, one, you can eat something that’s contaminated with it [and] the other way is by having a cut or tattoo exposed to water in which this bug lives,” KRON reported infectious disease expert Dr. Natasha Spottiswoode of UCSF as saying.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on September 1, issued a health advisory, warning of an increase in Vibrio vulnificus bacterial infections in the US due to increasing water tempuratures.

Vibrio vulnificus is a bacteria that thrives in warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico, according to the CDC. Vibrio bacteria are known to cause around 80,000 illnesses in the United States each year, according to the agency.

Signs of a Vibrio vulnificus infection are watery diarrhea, stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, and fever, the CDC ssaid. An infected wound may display redness, pain, swelling, warmth, discoloration, and discharge, the CDC added.

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Updated: 18 Sep 2023, 05:48 PM IST

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