Woman Dies After Eating Raw Oysters and Contracting Flesh-Eating Bacteria

Fresh oysters on wooden tray food background

People are most at risk when they eat raw or under-cooked seafood or have exposed a wound to seawater.

Typically, infections happen from May through October when water is warm. Severe cases-like LeBlanc's-can be fatal.

Jeanette LeBlanc visited the Louisiana coast in September with her spouse Vicki Bergquist and friend Karen Bowers. The woman's wife told local reporters that the trouble started after LeBlanc ate about two dozen of the oysters. Nothing seemed awry at the time. LeBlanc's health nearly immediately took a turn, at first in the form of respiratory distress and a rash that made it appear as though LeBlanc was having an allergic reaction to the meal.

Added Bowers, "An allergic reaction of sorts, that's what I would call it".

The sooner treatment begins, the more likely the patient will recover from the infection and avoid serious complications, such as limb amputation'.

Within the next 12 hours, LeBlanc became seriously ill. Her conditioned worsened from there, according to KLFY.

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A woman has died after being infected by a flesh-eating bacteria in Louisiana.

The flesh-eating bacteria caused severe wounds on LeBlanc's legs, and after fighting for her life for 21 days, she passed away on October 15.

For the next three weeks, LeBlanc fought the invasive disease until her body finally gave out. "Most people don't last", Bowers said of her friend.

"She was bigger than life", Bergquist said of LeBlanc. Doctors diagnosed LeBlanc has having been infected with vibrio, a type of bacteria prevalent in some coastal waters, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"If we had known that the risk was so high, I think she would've stopped eating oysters", Bergquist told KLFY. According to the CDC, there's no way to know if an oyster carries bacteria like Vibrio.

Dousing oysters with hot sauce or lemon or consuming them with alcohol also will not protect from the vibriosis virus. Vibrio can't be detected and is found even in unpolluted waters, so there is no way of knowing whether your appetizers may have the bacteria.

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