Woman dies from flesh-eating bacteria after eating raw oysters

Fresh oysters on wooden tray food background

A Texas woman died a year ago after she contracted flesh-eating bacteria from raw oysters she ate in Louisiana. Typically, infections happen from May through October when water is warm. She was admitted to the hospital, where her condition rapidly deteriorated.

What first looked like a small allergic reaction quickly turned into something far more severe.

"About 36 hours later she started having extreme respiratory distress, had a rash on her legs and everything", Vicki Bergquist told the news station.

Jeannette LeBlanc spent 21 days in hospital in September previous year before succumbing to a deadly infection on 15 October.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states most people who become infected with vibriosis do so by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters.

While media reports are calling this a flesh-eating bacteria, it's important to note that this is not one of the bacterial groups listed by the CDC as causing necrotizing fasciitis, the skin infection that destroys the body's soft tissue.

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.

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LeBlanc's widow thinks that had her wife understood the risks, she would have potentially not eaten the oysters that were ultimately responsible for her death.

Reflecting on her partner and the life they shared, Bergquist said, "She was a great person, laughed a lot, loved her family, loved her dad".

Told Bowers, 'I can't even imagine going through that for 21 days, much less a day. While most people recover from the infection, one variant - the Vibrio vulnificus infection - is often deadly. Most outbreaks occur between the months of May and October.

Bergquist told KTVE-TV that she wants to spread awareness now about vibrio and the risks of eating raw oysters.

One of our viewers wanted to know if it was one of those urban myths or a legitimate news story with a warning about what can happen when people with certain medical conditions eat raw or undercooked oysters or shellfish.

According to the CDC, the victim's family was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

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