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Woman Limbs Amputated After Fish-Related Bacterial Infection

Northern California woman contract infection from undercooked seafood.

She was on a respirator due to bacterial infection, and the physicians artificially induced her coma. Her bottom lip, feet, and fingers were all black. According to her friend Messina, she had severe sepsis and her kidneys were failing.

40 years old Laura Barajas, a mother of a 6-year-old boy, fell unwell in July after consuming grilled fish that she had purchased from a neighborhood market. Vibrio vulnificus infection, which the CDC warns can occasionally result in amputations and death within a day or two of becoming unwell, was discovered after she was admitted to the hospital.

Tilapia was the type of fish her friend ate. But on September 13, after the woman had been in the hospital for more than a month with no improvement in her health, physicians decided to save her life by amputating both of her limbs and legs.

What is Vibrio vulnificus?

A deadly bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus can lead to illnesses. According to the CDC, it can result from eating raw seafood or from exposing a wound to seawater. The infection may result in wounds that are fatal.

Tips to reduce its risk

  • Follow the CDC’s advice to lower your risk of vibriosis:
  • Eat no oysters or other shellfish that are uncooked or undercooked.
  • Stay away from saltwater and brackish water if you have a wound. If you must go into the water, bandage the wound.
  • Wash your wounds well if you’ve had exposure to either of those types of water.
  • If you suffer a skin illness after coming into touch with seawater or brackish water, seek medical attention right once.
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