A 55-year-old Texas woman is dead after contracting a flesh-eating disease from raw oysters she ate on a trip to Louisiana.
KLFY reported that Jeanette LeBlanc fell ill after consuming the oysters on a crabbing trip with family and friends. Both LeBlanc and her friend, Karen Bowers, consumed nearly two dozen oysters, but only LeBlanc began experiencing respiratory problems about a day and a half after the meal. She also developed harsh rashes, so her companions thought she was having an allergic reaction.
“An allergic reaction of sorts, that’s what I would call it. That’s what we thought,” Bowers told KLFY.
After visiting doctors days later, LeBlanc was told she had vibriosis, a disease caused by the flesh-eating bacteria vibrio.
“Most people become infected by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters. Certain Vibrio species can also cause a skin infection when an open wound is exposed to brackish or salt water,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. LeBlanc had been in contact with raw shellfish from eating the oysters, and an open wound was exposed to water described by the CDC, according to KLFY.
LeBlanc fought the illness for 21 days before she died on Oct. 15, 2017.
“I can’t even imagine going through that for 21 days. Most people don’t last,” Bowers said of her friend.
“If they really knew what could happen to them and they could literally die within 48, 36 hours of eating raw oysters, is it really worth it?” she said.
Bowers and LeBlanc’s wife, Vickie Bergquist, are working to keep others from suffering a similar fate.
“If we had known that the risk was so high, I think she would’ve stopped eating oysters,” Bergquist said.
“She was bigger than life,” she added about her late partner. “She was a great person, laughed a lot, loved her family, loved her dad.”