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California woman has all four limbs amputated after eating bad tilapia

A California woman had all four limbs amputated after eating tilapia contaminated with a deadly bacteria, her friends say.

Laura Barajas, a 40-year-old mother, was operated on this Thursday after a stay of months in the hospital.

“It’s been very heavy for all of us. It’s terrible. This could have happened to any of us,” Barajas’ friend, Anna Messina he told KRON.

Messina said Barajas became ill days after eating the fish she had bought at a local market in San Jose and made for herself at home.

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

Barajas had all four limbs removed in life-saving surgery this week.

Laura Barajas and her partner Jose Valdez
Laura Barajas and her partner Jose Valdez.

“They put her in a medically induced coma. Her fingers were black, her feet were black, her bottom lip was black. She had full blown sepsis and her kidneys were failing,” he added.

Messina says Barajas was infected Vibrio Vulnificusa potentially deadly bacteria found in raw seafood and seawater.

“The ways you can get infected with this bacteria are, one, you can eat something that is contaminated with it [and] the other way is to have a cut or tattoo exposed to the water that this bug lives in,” UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Natasha Spottiswoode told KRON.

Laura Barajas
Barajas has been in the hospital for over a month when he fell ill after eating undercooked fish.

He said it’s an infection of particular concern for those with weak immune systems.

There are approximately 150-200 cases of Vibro Vulnificus reported each year, according to the CDC. Around one in five of those infected dies.

Barajas’ family is waiting to hear more about what happened and how to move forward.

Messina launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with the Barajas’ medical expenses and their adaptation to their new life. More than $24,000 has been raised.


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