A mother in her forties had both limbs and legs amputated due to an infection that nearly killed her. The night before she got sick, the woman ate tilapia, a species of fish known to carry high quantities of harmful bacteria.
Cooking a supper for herself that included tilapia from the grocery, Laura Barajas had no idea it would land her in the hospital, battling for her life on a respirator. Anna Messina, a coworker of the victim’s boyfriend, claims that the victim became violently ill the day after eating the fish.
Due to its necrotic effects, Vibrio vulnificus is also known as a flesh-eating bacteria, which is what Barajas was diagnosed with in the hospital. Her extremities were being eaten away by sepsis and kidney failure as the infection spread despite her hospitalization. Barajas’ fingers, foot, and bottom lip were black when physicians decided to amputate, according to a report by Messina in San Francisco’s KRON4. The patient’s bacterial infection resulted in the loss of all four of her limbs on September 13, 2023.
According to the CDC, around one-fifth of those who get V. vulnificus die from the infection. While eating raw or undercooked seafood is the most common way to contract this infection, it can also enter the body through open wounds. Necrotizing fasciitis, in which diseased tissue rots away, can be caused by this and other bacteria. Infections can be particularly dangerous for those whose immune systems are already weak.
Tilapia and other bottom-feeding fish are particularly vulnerable to contamination, according to Global Seafoods. The fact that tilapia are typically farmed in overcrowded, unsanitary circumstances makes them more vulnerable to disease. Additionally, they are frequently given excessive doses of antibiotics to control these illnesses, which can lead to antibiotic-resistant diseases in humans.
Plus, the omega-6 fatty acids included in this fish are pro-inflammatory and may bring on an attack of arthritis or similar symptoms in sensitive individuals. Many health experts advise against eating this inexpensive protein source in favor of salmon and other leaner cuts.