Texas woman dies from flesh-eating bacteria after eating raw oysters, swimming in seawater

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LAFAYETTE, La. – A Texas woman died after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria following a crabbing trip with friends and consuming raw oysters in Louisiana, KLFY reports.

Jeanette LeBlanc was visiting friends and family in Louisiana back in September when she picked up a sack of raw oysters from a local market while on a crabbing trip. She shucked and ate about two dozen oysters with her friend, but not long later, her health rapidly changed.

She had respiratory issues and she developed a rash on her leg. “An allergic reaction of sorts, that’s what I would call it. That’s what we thought,” her friend Karen Bowers told KLFY.

Two days later, doctors informed her that she had vibrio, a flesh-eating bacteria.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consuming raw oysters and swimming in warm water with an open wound increases your risk of getting sick with vibriosis. “Most people become infected by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters. Certain Vibrio species can also cause a skin infection when an open wound is exposed to brackish or salt water.”

LeBlanc had been in contact with both. She fought the infection for 21 days, but she ultimately passed away.

Bowers and LeBlanc’s wife Vicki Bergquist told KLFY they are working to raise awareness about vibrio and the dangers of consuming raw oysters.

“It we had known that the risk was so high, I think she would’ve stopped eating oysters,” Bergquist said.