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Woman had all limbs amputated and ‘almost lost her life’ after eating tilapia

Claire Reid

Published 
| Last updated 

Woman had all limbs amputated and ‘almost lost her life’ after eating tilapia

Featured Image Credit: GoFundMe/Anna Messina

A woman had all four of her limbs amputated after contracting an infection by eating tilapia that was contaminated with potentially deadly bacteria.

Laura Barajas, 40, ‘almost lost her life’ after eating the fish which she bought from a local market in San Jose, California, back in July.

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Just days after eating the fish, Barajas began to feel unwell and her symptoms worsened until she eventually ended up in hospital, where she has spent the last few months.

On Thursday (14 September), she underwent a life-saving operation which involved the amputation of her limbs.

Speaking to KRON 4, Barajas 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.

Laura Barajas, 40, ‘almost lost her life’ after picking up the infection. Credit: KRON 4
Laura Barajas, 40, ‘almost lost her life’ after picking up the infection. Credit: KRON 4
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“She almost lost her life. She was on a respirator. They put her into a medically induced coma.

“Her fingers were black, her feet were black her bottom lip was black. She had complete sepsis and her kidneys were failing.”

Messina added: “Be thankful for what we have right now because it can be taken away so quickly so easily.”

A GoFundMe page was set up by Messina to help cover the cost of medical bills, as well as any ongoing care needs.

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On the fundraiser’s page, she explained: “This family is in desperate need of our help. While Jose has health benefits through his work, it remains uncertain whether they will cover Laura, his partner of eight years.

“Jose's paid time off (PTO) has been exhausted, and the Family Disability program provides only 60 percent of his normal income.

“The mounting hospital bills are overwhelming, and Laura's physical condition will necessitate significant changes to their lives as they adapt to her new circumstances.”

At the time of writing, the page has raised over $50,000 (£40,000).

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It is believed the infection was caused by vibrio vulnificus, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a warning about.

The mom was in the hospital for weeks. Credit: KRON 4
The mom was in the hospital for weeks. Credit: KRON 4

UCSF Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Natasha Spottiswoode said: “The ways you can get infected with this bacteria are one-you can eat something that's contaminated with it the other way is by having a cut or tattoo exposed to water in which this bug lives.”

According to the CDC, there are around 150 to 200 reported cases of the infection each year and around one in five of those will die.

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Experts say that the infection is particularly dangerous to those who are immunocompromised.

Dr Spottiswoode added: “People should take sensible precautions like if you have a cut avoid getting immersed in water until it's well healed.

“If you are someone immunocompromised keeping an eye on these things and avoiding those high-risk activities and foods.”

Topics: News, US News, Health

Claire Reid
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