A 40-year-old California mom, identified as Laura Barajas, was forced to get all four of her limbs amputated last week on Thursday after she consumed some tilapia fish which was infected with a deadly bacteria. She underwent the surgery after almost a month-long stay in a hospital fighting an infection of Vibrio Vulnificus bacteria, said her friends. Her friend Anna Messina said, “It’s just been really heavy on all of us. It’s terrible. This could’ve happened to any of us,” reported Kron news website.
Barajas, who is also mother to a 6-year-old son, fell sick days after eating the fish that she had bought at a local market in San Jose and made for herself at home. Her friend Messina was also quoted as saying by Kron, “She almost lost her life. She was on a respirator.”
She further said doctors put her into a medically induced coma and her fingers, feet and bottom lip also turned black due to infection. Messina said, “She had complete sepsis and her kidneys were failing,” reported Kron.
Barajas was admitted to a hospital after she was infected with Vibrio Vulnificus, which is a fatal bacteria usually found in raw seafood and seawater.
Commenting on the matter, UCSF Infectious Disease Expert Natasha Spottiswoode said, “The ways you can get infected with this bacteria are, one, you can eat something that’s contaminated with it [and] the other way is by having a cut or tattoo exposed to water in which this bug lives.”
The infection could be proven to be deadly for anyone with weak immune systems. On average, around 150 to 200 Vibro Vulnificus cases are detected every year and about one in five infected persons die due to this.
On September 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory, warning of an increase in Vibrio Vulnificus bacterial infections in the United States due to increasing water temperatures.
Vibrio Vulnificus is a bacteria that thrives in warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico, according to the CDC. Vibrio bacteria are known to cause around 80,000 illnesses in the United States each year, according to the agency.
Meanwhile, Barajas’ family continues to wait to learn and understand what took place and the way ahead. Moreover, Messina also launched a GoFundMe campaign to help her friend Barajas in terms of medical costs and to ensure a new life. So far, more than $39,000 has been raised for her.
“Laura has been in the hospital for over a month, fighting for her life, she is now a quadruple amputee,” said Messina. She also said nobody knew that this simple act would go on to change her life forever.