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18th Sep 2023

Woman had all limbs amputated and ‘almost died’ after eating tilapia fish

Charlie Herbert

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

She’s spent months in hospital

A woman was left fighting for her life after she contracted an infection by eating tilapia that had been contaminated with deadly bacteria.

Laura Barajas had all four of her limbs amputated after eating the fish that she had purchased from a local market in San Jose, California in July.

Barajas had undercooked the fish and contracted sepsis.

A few days after consuming it she began to feel ill, and the 40-year-old ended up being hospitalised as her condition worsened.

She spent the following months in hospital and earlier this month 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.

“She almost lost her life. She was on a respirator.”

The infection had likely been caused by the tilapia being infected with a strain of bacteria called vibrio vulnificus, which is usually found in seawater or raw shellfish.

“They put her into a medically induced coma. Her fingers were black, her feet were black, and her bottom lip was black. She had complete sepsis, and her kidneys were failing,” Messina added.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Messina to help raise money to cover her friend’s medical costs and support Barajas and her family.

Barajas has a partner of eight years, Jose Valdez, and a six-year-old son.

At the time of writing, the page has raised $53,203.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 80,000 people get vibrio infections each year and about 100 people die from the infection annually in the U.S.

At least a dozen people have died from the infection in America so far in 2023, USA Today reports.

UCSF Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Natasha Spottiswoode told KRON: “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.”

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