A Texas woman has set out to warn of the dangers of raw oysters after her wife died from flesh-eating bacteria she contracted from the uncooked seafood.
“Don't eat raw oysters, period, ever ... because you can for sure die," Vicki Bergquist told News radio 1080 KRLD. "And they should say that on menus."
Bergquist and her wife Jeannette LeBlanc bought a bag of fresh oysters from a seafood market after going crabbing with friends while in Louisiana last September.
LeBlanc ate some of the oysters, unaware the seafood could potentially contain Vibrio, deadly bacteria primarily found in warm gulf waters.
By the next day, LeBlanc was in extreme respiratory distress, had a rash on her legs and needed to be rushed to a hospital, Bergquist told 1080 KRLD.
LeBlanc was put on antibiotics and doctors worked for 36 hours straight trying to stabilize her.
“But the bacteria is so aggressive it kills the kidneys. They had to start her on dialysis,” Bergquist said. “It really worked on her liver and did a lot of damage. It really, really wracked her body.”
LeBlanc underwent three surgeries to have dead tissue removed from her body, but after 21 days in the hospital, she was no longer able to fight, her devastated wife said on Oct. 15.
“It was just too much,” Bergquist said.
About 80,000 illnesses in the United States each year are caused by vibriosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 52,000 of these illnesses are estimated to be the result of eating contaminated food.
“In the hospital we were in — I know of two other deaths this year from people who had oysters at brand name, big name restaurants,” Bergquist told the radio station.