Woman Dies Of Flesh-Eating Infection After Eating Raw Oysters

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She spent 21 days fighting the sickness, but died on October 15.

Jeanette LeBlanc was on a trip to Louisiana with her wife, Vicki Bergquist, when she shucked and ate about two dozen oysters. Bowers said the first signs of LeBlanc's illness suggested an allergic reaction.

About 80,000 cases of vibriosis are diagnosed in the United States each year with most of the illnesses coming from eating raw shellfish.

But LeBlanc's condition worsened in the next 48 hours and she was hospitalized.

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Most infections happen between May and October and common symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, fever and chills. "That's what we thought", Bowers told KLFY.

When treatment is possible, understanding that flesh-eating disease has been caused by Vibrio is important, since it's treated differently from other bacteria.

The flesh-eating bacteria caused severe wounds on LeBlanc's legs, and after fighting for her life for 21 days, she passed away on October 15.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people can contract vibriosis from exposing open wounds to brackish water or eating raw oysters.

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Reflecting on her partner and the life they shared, Bergquist said, "She was a great person, laughed a lot, loved her family, loved her dad". Severe cases-like LeBlanc's-can be fatal.

"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?" her friend Karen Bowers added.

LeBlanc's widow thinks that had her wife understood the risks, she would have potentially not eaten the oysters that were ultimately responsible for her death.

While eating raw oysters is commonplace and the risk is low, it is not negligible.

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"I can't even imagine going through that for 21 days, much less a day". Most are unpleasant but resolve within a few days, but one rare type can cause a "flesh-eating" or necrotizing fasciitis condition that kills up to 30% of those infected. But it rapidly became apparent that something more serious was developing.

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