A 55-year-old Texas woman is dead after contracting a flesh-eating disease from raw oysters she ate on a trip to Louisiana.
Jeanette LeBlanc fell ill after consuming the oysters on a crabbing trip with family and friends. Both LeBlanc and her friend Karen Bowers consumed a portion of 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, reported KLFY.
“An allergic reaction of sorts, that’s what I would call it. That’s what we thought,” her Bowers told KLFY.
After visiting doctors days later, LeBlanc was told she had vibriosis, a disease caused by the flesh-eating bacteria vibrio. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention: “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.”
LeBlanc battled for 21 days before succumbing to the dangerous illness on Oct. 15, 2017.
“I can’t even imagine going through that for 21 days. Most people don’t last,” said 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 continued.
Now she 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.”
Editor’s Note: The video below contains graphic images of the disease’s effects, which some viewers may find disturbing.