- A woman has died after being infected by a flesh-eating bacteria in Louisiana.
- She became ill after eating roughly two dozen raw oysters.
- One food expert says that he has seen more foodborne illnesses linked to shellfish in the past five years than in the two previous decades.
A Texan woman has died after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria after eating raw oysters on a trip to the the Louisiana coast.
Jeanette LeBlanc died after a three-week battle with vibriosis, an illness typically caused by eating raw seafood, CBS reported.
After shucking and eating roughly two dozen raw oysters with her wife and a friend, LeBlanc began having respiratory distress and a rash, which she and her wife initially assumed were signs of an allergic reaction. But, when she went to the hospital, doctors said she had been infected by Vibrio bacteria.
“It’s a flesh-eating bacteria,” her wife, Vicki Bergquist, told local news station KLFY. “She had severe wounds on her legs from that bacteria.”
The CDC estimates that vibriosis causes 80,000 illnesses each year in the US, most caused by consuming contaminated food. While most people recover from the infection, one variant – the Vibrio vulnificus infection – is often deadly. One in four infected people die, often within just a day or two of becoming ill.
Food-poisoning experts have advised exercising caution while consuming raw oysters for years.
“Oysters are filter feeders, so they pick up everything that’s in the water,” food-poisoning attorney Bill Marler told BottomLine. “If there’s bacteria in the water it will get into their system, and if you eat it you could have trouble.”
Marler says that he has seen more foodborne illnesses linked to shellfish in the past five years than in the two previous decades.
The culprit: warming waters. As global waters heat up, they produce microbial growth, which ends up in the raw oysters consumers are slurping down.
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