Texas woman dies after contracting flesh-eating bacteria from oysters in Louisiana

Derek Davis—Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Derek Davis—Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

LeBlanc purchased a sack of raw oysters at a nearby market, and just 36 hours later, her health took a turn for the worse.

The latter looked okay the whole day until about 36 hours later, she began having extreme respiratory distress.

Approximately 80,000 illnesses and a hundred deaths annually are caused by Vibrio bacteria in the United States. Doctors' first thought was that she may have had an allergic reaction, but blood tests showed that she contracted a flesh-eating bacteria from the raw shellfish.

Karen added: "I can't even imagine going through that for 21 days".

LeBlanc succumbed to the bacteria and died on October 15, 2017, according to the station. Typically, infections happen from May through October when water is warm.

But while lots of people enjoy raw oysters, few think about the health risks.

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When treatment is possible, understanding that flesh-eating disease has been caused by Vibrio is important, since it's treated differently from other bacteria.

Lopez says it's important to know that cases like Leblanc's are rare. Most people who contract Vibrio from raw oysters experience only diarrhea and vomiting, and those with these milder cases typically recover in about 3 days, according to the CDC.

"Our Gulf Coast waters definitely can sustain the growth of this organism", Dr. Fred Lopez with the Department of Internal Medicine at the LSU School of Medicine, told CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL-TV.

Both Bergquist and Bowers are now raising awareness about vibrio, saying that they wish they had known the risk of eating the oysters before the tragedy.

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.

It turns out that anyone can get sick from vibriosis, but it's rare.

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But vibrio is not Necrotizing fasciitis, the very rare fleshing-eating disease that fewer than 20,000 people in the US contract each year.

In a podcast about eating raw oysters, the CDC explained that anyone is susceptible to getting ill from eating raw oysters.

People with vibrio vulnificus may need intensive care or limb amputation.

U.S. Food Safety advises against eating of raw oysters and provided tips on preparing and cooking them.

"Have them cooked. Have them fried, have them boiled", Lopez said. "You need to have high, sustained temperatures to kill the organism".

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