A California mother is recovering after losing her arms and legs due to a bacterial infection. Laura Barajas, 40, is recovering but refusing interviews at this time, per a GoFundMe placement updated yesterday (Sept. 18).
Anna Messina, a family friend, organized the $150,000 fundraiser and interviewed with KRON4 about the family’s journey. Messina described Laura as a “40-year-old mother to a wonderful six-year-old boy named Gael” in the fundraiser at its launch nearly a week ago.
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Barajas has reportedly been in the hospital for over a month. Anna says the mother purchased some tilapia from a local market in San Jose. KRON4 reports that Laura was the only person to eat the fish after cooking it at dinnertime. Anna wrote that Laura realized something was wrong the next day. A doctor later diagnosed the mother with Vibrio vulnificus.
What To Know About Vibrio Vulnificus
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an advisory notice on Sept. 1 about Vibrio vulnificus infections in the U.S. Their health notice warned healthcare professionals to consider V. vulnificus as the cause for any infection contracted from contact with coastal waters, especially near the Gulf of Mexico or East Coast.
Fatal infection reports say the contamination has come from wound and foodborne illnesses. The CDC says anyone can contact Vibrio — from an open wound or by consuming contaminated oysters or other undercooked seafood.
Even if you don’t consume it, the dripping or juices from contaminated seafood in contact with an open wound can expose you to the bacteria. An open wound exposed to contaminated saltwater or brackish water (mixed salt and fresh water) can also be infected.
Per the CDC, symptoms may start with diarrhea and cramping and escalate to fevers and chills, blistering skin lesions, and leaking wounds. It can also spread to other parts of the body. A Vibrio vulnificus infection can lead to necrotizing fasciitis, which is an infection that causes flesh death.
SEE MORE ON HOW TO PREVENT VIBRIO WOUND INFECTION HERE.
Mother Is Recovering But Still In The ICU, Donations Approaching Goal
As for Laura, doctors reportedly believe she contracted the bacterial infection from undercooked tilapia. The severity of her illness escalated, leading to doctors amputating all four of her limbs on Sept. 13.
Her family friend, Anna, says Laura’s husband, Jose Valdez, a co-worker of Anna’s, will need “significant changes to their lives” to adapt to the new circumstances. The GoFundMe is sitting at more than $87,000 from over 1,700 donations.
“It’s been really heavy on all of us. It’s terrible. This could’ve happened to any of us,” Messina reportedly told KRON4. “She almost lost her life. She was on a respirator. They put her into a medically induced coma. Her fingers were black, her feet were black, her bottom lip was black. She had complete sepsis and her kidneys were failing.”
Last week, The Shade Room reported a fatal case of Vibrio vulnificus in a Texas man who consumed raw oysters. The man was not named but said to be between the ages of 30 to 40. The Galveston County Health District said the man suffered from an underlying condition that made him more susceptible to the infection.