Bacterial Infection from Fish Purchased in San Jose Leads to Limb Amputations: Experts Warn of Climate Change Impact

Bacterial Infection from Fish Purchased in San Jose Leads to Limb Amputations: Experts Warn of Climate Change Impact

California Woman Loses Limbs to Bacterial Infection Linked to Climate Change

A 40-year-old woman in California had to undergo a life-altering amputation of all her limbs due to a bacterial infection she developed after cooking fish bought from a San Jose market. Laura Barajas purchased tilapia and subsequently experienced symptoms of a Vibrio injurious infection. As experts warn, this type of infection may become more common as climate change worsens.

According to a GoFundMe page organized by a family friend, Anna Messina, Barajas cooked and ate the fish before being hospitalized for over a month. On September 13, doctors had to amputate both her arms and legs to save her life.

Vibrio infections are typically fatal, with a mortality rate of around 20%. Patients often require intensive care and may need amputations, as in Barajas’ case. The infection can cause a range of debilitating symptoms, including stomach cramps, watery diarrhea, nausea, fever, vomiting, chills, low blood pressure, and blistering skin lesions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that Vibrio infections can occur after consuming raw or undercooked seafood, especially in warm coastal waters. Research published in the journal Scientific Reports suggests that global warming may lead to an increase in cases of this deadly infection in the coming years.

To prevent exposure to Vibrio bacteria, the CDC advises washing hands with soap and water after handling raw shellfish and thoroughly cooking oysters and other shellfish. Specifically, oysters should be boiled for at least three minutes or cooked using alternative methods provided by the CDC.

While anyone can be affected by Vibrio infections, certain individuals are more susceptible to severe complications. These include people with underlying health conditions such as liver disease, cancer, HIV, diabetes, or thalassemia, as well as those taking medications that weaken the immune system.

Barajas’ family is facing significant financial challenges due to her medical bills. Additionally, they will require home modifications to accommodate her new circumstances. The family has reached out for financial support through the GoFundMe page, emphasizing the potential impact such an infection could have on anyone.

This case serves as a reminder of the potential dangers posed by climate change and the importance of taking precautions when handling and consuming seafood. As global warming continues to worsen, it is crucial to stay informed and follow recommended guidelines to minimize the risk of infection.


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