Rare Bacterial Infection Strikes San Jose Woman: Amputation to Save Life

Rare Bacterial Infection Strikes San Jose Woman: In San Jose, a woman is battling a bacterial infection from a fish dish she cooked. This mother, aged 40, was very ill. To survive, she had to amputate all her limbs.

Laura Barajas’s battle for survival is a stark reminder of the rarity and danger of bacterial infections like hers.

Dr. John Swartzberg from UC Berkeley School of Public Health discusses the severity of this illness.

A family friend named Anna Messina created a GoFundMe page for Barajas, sharing his story. She went to a grocery store in San Jose and cooked fish herself. The next day, she went to the hospital. She was diagnosed with Vibrio vulnificus, a dangerous bacterial disease with a high death rate.

Swartzberg states that roughly 20% of severely affected individuals do not survive, highlighting the severity of the situation.

For over a month, Barajas has been battling this infection. On September 13, his limbs and head were severed. This is a severe step taken when blood flow kills healthy tissue irreparably.

The CDC issued a health alert on Vibrio vulnificus on September 1. Around 200 people annually contract this infection, experiencing symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, chills, and fever. Most bacteria live in salt waters on the East Coast. They enter the body through cuts or by drinking seawater. Eating raw or undercooked fish can make you sick.

Dr. Swartzberg says cooking well is the only way to eliminate the bacterium threat. He also cautions against purposefully drinking seawater, which is rare but essential to mention. Wash hands thoroughly, especially after handling raw fish, to reduce Vibrio Vulnificus risk.

Dr. Swartzberg advises staying vigilant and taking precautions, even in low-risk areas like the West Coast.

ALSO READ: San Jose Man Receives10 Year Prison Sentence: for Child Sexual Assault