By Patrick Reilly
A California mom had all four of her limbs amputated after she ate some tilapia that was contaminated with a deadly bacteria, her friends say.
Laura Barajas, 40, underwent the life-saving surgery on Thursday after a months-long stay in the hospital.
“It’s just been really heavy on all of us. It’s terrible. This could’ve happened to any of us,” Barajas’ friend Anna Messina told KRON.
Messina said Barajas, who has a 6-year-old son, became sick days after eating the fish that she had purchased at a local market in San Jose and made for herself at home.
“She almost lost her life. She was on a respirator,” Messina said.
“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,” she added.
Messina says Barajas was infected with Vibrio Vulnificus, a potentially fatal bacteria found in raw seafood and seawater.
“The ways you can get infected with this bacteria are, one, you can eat something that’s contaminated with it [and] the other way is by having a cut or tattoo exposed to water in which this bug lives,” UCSF Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Natasha Spottiswoode told KRON.
She said it’s a particularly concerning infection for those with weak immune systems.
There are roughly 150 to 200 cases of Vibro Vulnificus reported each year, according to the CDC. About one in five of those infected die.
Barajas’ family is waiting to learn more about what happened and how to move forward.
Messina launched a GoFundMe campaign to assist with the Barajas’ medical costs and her adjustment to her new life. More than $39,000 has been raised as of Sunday morning.
“Little did she know that this simple act would change her life forever,” the fundraiser said. “Laura has been in the hospital for over a month, fighting for her life, she is now a quadruple amputee.”