A California mother had all four limbs amputated after eating tilapia contaminated with a deadly bacteria, friends say.
Laura Barajas, 40, underwent life-saving surgery Thursday after a months-long stay in the hospital.
“It has been very heavy for all of us. It’s awful. “This could have happened to any of us,” Barajas’ friend Anna Messina told KRON.
Messina said Barajas, who has a 6-year-old son, became ill days after eating fish she had bought at a local market in San José and prepared herself at home.
“He almost lost his life. She was on a ventilator,” Messina said.
Barajas had all four limbs removed in life-saving surgery this week. crown 4
Laura Barajas and her partner José Valdez.KRON 4
“They put her in a medically induced coma. Her toes were black, her feet were black and her lower lip was black. “She had complete sepsis and her kidneys were failing,” she added.
Messina says Barajas was infected with Vibrio Vulnificus, a potentially deadly bacteria found in raw shellfish 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 expose a cut or tattoo to the water in which this insect lives,” Dr. Natasha Spottiswoode, an infectious disease expert at UCSF, told KRON.
Barajas had been in the hospital for more than a month when he fell ill after eating undercooked fish. KRON 4
He said it is a particularly worrying infection for those with weak immune systems.
According to the CDC, approximately 150 to 200 cases of Vibro Vulnificus are reported each year. Approximately one in five of those infected dies.
Barajas’ family is waiting to learn more about what happened and how to move forward.
Messina launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with the Barajases’ medical costs and their adjustment to their new life. As of Sunday morning, more than $39,000 has been raised.
“Little did she know that this simple act would change her life forever,” the fundraiser said. “Laura has been in the hospital for more than a month, fighting for her life, she now has four amputations.”