A 40-year-old woman in California recently had to have all of her limbs amputated after developing a bacterial infection from consuming fish purchased at a local market. Experts warn that the type of infection she contracted could become more common as climate change worsens.
Laura Barajas cooked and ate the fish, which was later identified as tilapia, and was hospitalized for over a month before doctors decided to amputate her arms and legs in order to save her life. The infection she developed is known as Vibrio vulnificus, which is commonly associated with warmer coastal waters.
Vibrio infections can be contracted through the consumption of raw or undercooked seafood or oysters, as well as through open wounds. Symptoms can include stomach cramping, watery diarrhea, nausea, fever, vomiting, chills, low blood pressure, and blistering skin lesions. In severe cases, amputations may be necessary.
According to a health advisory released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cases of Vibrio infections are expected to rise due to global warming. The CDC recommends washing hands thoroughly after handling raw shellfish, and cooking oysters and other shellfish before consuming them. Certain individuals, such as those with pre-existing health conditions or recent surgeries, are at higher risk for severe complications from the infection.
The cost of Barajas’ medical bills and the need for home modifications have placed a significant financial burden on her family. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help support them during this difficult time.
– WHNT News 19
– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)