After shucking and eating oysters during a trip to Louisiana on September 23, 2017, Jeanette LeBlanc, a 55-year-old Texan, contracted an infection that ended her life a few weeks later.
With her wife, Vicki Bergquist; step-daughter, Jennifer Bergquist; and friend, Karen Bowers, LeBlanc purchased oysters at a market in Westwego, Louisiana, according to KLFY-10. She ate about two dozen raw oysters, Bowers told KLFY-10, and scraped herself while shucking them, according to Jennifer, who spoke to People.
Within two days, LeBlanc was having trouble breathing and had developed rashes on her legs. (Nobody else got sick.)
Vicki, who is a nurse, took LeBlanc to Baton Rouge General Hospital. There, doctors diagnosed her with vibriosis, a potentially serious infection caused by vibrio bacteria that's acquired by eating raw oysters or other types of shellfish, or from exposing open wounds to a mixture of fresh and salty sea water, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Although most people who contract vibriosis experience stomach flu symptoms and tend to recover within about three days with no lasting effects, some become seriously ill. The infection can also manifest itself in a skin infection that eats the flesh, calling for limb amputation. About 1 in 4 people die from vibriosis, according to the CDC.
After 21 days of battling her infection, which led to severe leg lesions, LeBlanc passed away on October 15, 2017.
“If we had known that the risk was so high, I think she would’ve stopped eating oysters,” Vicki told KLFY-10, hoping those who hear LeBlanc's story exercise caution.
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