California mother lost all her limbs from bacterial infection after eating undercooked tilapia

A California woman spent over a month in the hospital fighting an infection after she ate undercooked tilapia, according to her friend.Mira Oberman/AFP/GettyImages
  • Laura Barajas got a bacterial infection from eating undercooked tilapia.

  • Barajas had to have all her limbs amputated because of the infection.

  • The CDC warns Vibrio vulnificus infections are rising due to warming waters.

A mother in California had to have all of her limbs amputated after eating a piece of undercooked tilapia.

Laura Barajas, 40, purchased the fish from a local market in San Jose last month which she cooked and ate on her own at home, her friend Anna Messina wrote in a GoFundMe campaign.

Barajas spent more than a month in the hospital fighting an infection of Vibrio vulnificus bacteria before having all of her limbs removed on Wednesday, according to Messina.

"We kindly request that you find it in your hearts to support this beautiful family during this incredibly challenging time," Messina wrote. "What has happened to them could happen to any of us, and together, we can make a meaningful difference."

On September 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory, warning of an increase in Vibrio vulnificus bacterial infections in the United States due to increasing water tempuratures.

Vibrio vulnificus is a bacteria that thrives in warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico, according to the CDC. Vibrio bacteria are known to cause around 80,000 illnesses in the United States each year, according to the agency.

In Galveston, Texas, a man died over Labor Day Weekend after eating oysters contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus on August 29, according to FOX 26 in Houston.

Signs of a Vibrio vulnificus infection are watery diarrhea, stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, and fever, the CDC says. An infected wound may display redness, pain, swelling, warmth, discoloration, and discharge, according to the department.

The CDC says the most common cause of Vibrio infections is eating undercooked or raw oysters and shellfish.

"Don't eat raw or undercooked oysters or other shellfish. Cook them before eating," the CDC recommends. "Always wash your hands with soap and water after handing raw shellfish."

The CDC also recommends staying out of salt water if you have an open wound to avoid Vibrio infection.

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