A woman from North Texas has issued a warning to seafood lovers. Vicky Bergqvist, widow of Jeanette Leblanc, says people should stay away from raw oysters.
According to Berquist, she and LeBlanc were in Louisiana last September when they bought a bag of fresh oysters from a seafood market. Jeanette reportedly ate some of them and ended up contracting a severe bacterial infection.
CBS DFW reports:
Vicki says had to go somewhere else that night, but when she returned the next day she says Jeanette was already in extreme respiratory distress and had a rash on her legs.
Vicki rushed Jeanette an hour away to a hospital in Baton Rouge where Jeanette was diagnosed with Vibrio and put on anti-biotics.
Her skin blistered and she had wounds on her tongue. Doctors worked for nearly 36 hours straight trying to stabilize her.
“But the bacteria is so aggressive it kills the kidneys. They had to start her on dialysis,” said Vicki. “It really worked on her liver and did a lot of damage. It really, really wracked her body.”
Vicki says two weeks into her struggle Jeanette had the first of three surgeries to remove dead tissue caused by the bacteria.
“After the first, she did ok” said Vicki. “After the second she struggled a little bit. But after the third surgery she never really rallied back. It was just too much.”
Sadly, Jeanette died 21 days later, on October 15th.
According to CBS DFW, draw oysters may contain a deadly bacteria called Vibrio, primarily found in warm gulf waters.
According to the CDC, Vibrio causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses each year in the United States.
While most people merely develop food poisoning symptoms and recover, people with compromised systems are at risk for more serious complications.
Jeanette reportedly had gastric bypass, which affected her digestion.
To be on the safe side, Vicki suggests, “Don’t eat raw oysters, period, ever…because you can for sure die. And they should say that on menus.”
“In the hospital we were in – I know of two other deaths this year from people who had oysters at brand name, big name restaurants,” Vicki said.
Video’s of the story may be seen below, as well as images of the damage the bacteria did to Jeanette (Warning: Images may be disturbing.)