Woman Loses All Four Limbs After Consuming Contaminated Tilapia

A 40-year-old woman from California, Laura Barajas, had to undergo a drastic surgical procedure that resulted in the amputation of all her limbs. This unfortunate incident occurred after she consumed tilapia, a type of fish, which was tainted with a lethal strain of bacteria. According to her friends, Barajas had been hospitalized for several weeks prior to the surgery.

Barajas’ friend, Anna Messina, shared with the media that the incident has been a heavy burden on everyone close to Barajas. She expressed her shock and sadness, stating that such a tragedy could have happened to anyone. Messina revealed that Barajas fell ill a few days after consuming the fish, which she had bought from a local market in San Jose and prepared at home.

Messina further detailed the severity of Barajas’ condition, stating that she was put on a respirator and was close to losing her life. Barajas was placed in a medically induced coma as her condition worsened. Her fingers, feet, and lower lip turned black due to sepsis, and her kidneys began to fail.

According to Messina, Barajas was infected with Vibrio Vulnificus, a potentially fatal bacteria commonly found in raw seafood and seawater. Dr. Natasha Spottiswoode, an Infectious Disease Expert at UCSF, explained that the bacteria can infect individuals either through consumption of contaminated food or exposure of cuts or tattoos to water where the bacteria resides. She also noted that the infection is particularly dangerous for those with compromised immune systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports an estimated 150-200 cases of Vibrio Vulnificus infections annually. Approximately one in five of these cases result in death. Barajas’ family is currently seeking more information about the incident and planning their next steps.

In an effort to help with Barajas’ medical expenses and her transition to a new way of life, Messina has initiated a GoFundMe campaign. The campaign has already raised over $24,000.