Texas woman dies after contracting flesh-eating bacteria vibriosis after eating raw oysters

Posted January 10, 2018

Dousing oysters with hot sauce or lemon or consuming them with alcohol also will not protect from the vibriosis virus.

Texas residents Vicki Bergquist and her wife LeBlanc were visiting family in Louisiana.

"I can't even imagine going through that for 21 days, much less a day", her friend, Karen Bowers, who ate the same oysters, told media.

Thirty-six hours after eating the raw oysters, LeBlanc experienced symptoms of allergic reaction like difficulty in breathing and rashes on her legs that looked like severe wounds. "She had severe wounds on her legs from that bacteria", the woman's friend recalled.

LeBlanc's condition worsened for weeks before she succumbed.

Doctors told Jeanette she had vibrio - a potentially deadly bacterial infection.

Jeanette LeBlanc died on October 15, 2017 after battling the infection for three weeks.

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.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people can become infected with vibrio after eating raw or under-cooked shellfish or by exposing open wounds to brackish water. Typically, infections happen from May through October when water is warm.

Bergquist now plans to raise awareness about vibrio.

"If we had known that the risk was so high, I think she would've stopped eating oysters", Bergquist told KLFY.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a page on their website devoted to myths associated with raw oysters and the vibrio bacteria that can be contracted as a result.

CDC provided some tips to reduce the risk of vibriosis. People can get vibrosis from either eating raw or undercooked seafood or by seawater touching a wound.

Always wash your hands with soap and water after handing raw shellfish.

Stay out of brackish or salt water if you have a wound (including cuts and scrapes), or cover your wound with a waterproof bandage if there's a possibility it could come into contact with brackish or salt water, raw seafood, or raw seafood juices.