Family Of Woman Who Died From Flesh-Eating Bacteria After Eating Raw Oysters Looks To Raise Awareness

One family is hoping that others can learn from their tragedy.

Oysters for the Food Network are displayed.
Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images

One family is hoping that others can learn from their tragedy.

On October 21, 55-year-old Jeanette LeBlanc tragically died after she contracted a deadly flesh-eating bacteria. But it wasn’t just the terrible way in which she died that is unbelievable, it was the way that she contracted the deadly virus.

According the USA Today, Jeannette, who is originally from Texas, was visiting family in Louisiana this past September when she became violently ill. Jeannette’s wife, Vicki Bergquist, who was also on the trip, told reporters that they decided to shuck and eat oysters they picked up from a local market.

But shortly after they enjoyed their meal, KLFY says that something went terribly awry. Just a day and a half after eating the raw shellfish, Bergquist said that LeBlanc went into respiratory distress and got a big rash on her legs that later moved all over her body. Everyone had originally thought that it was food poisoning, but it turns out it was something way worse.

After a stay in the hospital, doctors were finally able to pinpoint what was happening to the 55-year-old, and her condition took a turn for the worse. Turns out, LeBlanc had contracted vibrio, which is a flesh-eating bacteria.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, vibrio can happen when people with vibriosis eat “raw or undercooked seafood” or when a wound is exposed to seawater. In the United States alone, there are over 80,000 people who suffer from this each year, 800 of which result in death. The CDC also noted that most cases occur between May and October when the weather is warmer.

The Daily Mail reports that symptoms of vibriosis include chills, fever, nausea, and diarrhea. People who have eaten undercooked seafood and think that they may be at risk should go to the hospital immediately.

KLFY goes on to report that LeBlanc fought in the hospital for 21 days before finally succumbing to the horrible disease. Friends of LeBlanc say that she was a fighter and most people would not have lasted that long.

But her partner and family want to make sure that something good comes out of the tragedy that they went through.

“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?”

Bergquist said that she and friends will continue to raise awareness in Jeannette’s memory.