56-year-old Jane Cunningham was on vacation and had a horrible eating experience that led to her unfortunate demise. The Texas woman was eating raw oysters that were contaminated. She contracted a terribly severe infection that included the Vibrio bacteria that’s typically found in saltwater. Her infection was so bad that doctors rushed to amputate both legs and her left arm in hopes to save her. The bacteria spread so quickly that she, unfortunately, passed away.
There was nothing left for doctors to do once the infection passed through her body. They were unable to save her and she passed away a few days after her medical procedures.
Jane White Cunningham, 56, contracted a severe infection from raw oysters, which contained the bacteria Vibrio, news station DFW-TV reported. The bacteria is typically found in saltwater.
Cunningham was hospitalized at the Gulfport Mississippi Hospital, where she underwent surgery on Aug.8.
“There has been a lot of swelling in her extremities and a lot of pain,” husband David Cunningham wrote on Facebook. “Today they had to amputate both legs and her left arm in an attempt to save her life as the infection was spreading rapidly.”
Doctors suggest that anyone who eats raw oysters and suffers from nausea, vomiting, or the uneventful and unplanned episode of diarrhea should report to the emergency room immediately. Those symptoms could be related to ingesting the Vibrio bacteria and needs to be treated immediately. In the case of the Texan woman, the surgery wasn’t done in time, or wasn’t enough, to save the woman from the spreading infection. It took her life days after she contracted it. Doctors even removed several limbs in hopes it would save her life from the Vibrio, but that was unsuccessful.
The surgery, however, was not enough to stop the infection from spreading and she died two days later. A memorial service will be held Aug. 26, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Experts say anyone who experiences nausea, vomiting or diarrhea after eating raw oysters should seek medical attention.
“If you’ve got those symptoms, you need to get to the emergency room right away and get treated,” Baylor Hospital Dr. David Winter told DFW-TV.
Via the Centers for Disease Control:
What are Vibrio bacteria?
Vibrio bacteria naturally live in certain coastal waters and are present in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer.
What is vibriosis?
About a dozen Vibrio species can cause human illness, known as vibriosis. The most common species causing human illness in the United States are Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio vulnificus, and Vibrio alginolyticus.
How do people get vibrosis?
Most people become infected by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters. Certain Vibrio species can also cause a skin infection when an open wound is exposed to brackish or salt water.
Who is more likely to get vibriosis?
People with compromised immune systems, especially those with chronic liver disease, are more likely to get vibriosis. Eating raw seafood, particularly oysters, and exposing open wounds to brackish or salt water can increase a person’s chance for getting vibriosis.
During which months are people more likely to get vibriosis?
About 80% of infections occur between May and October when water temperatures are warmer.
How common is vibriosis?
CDC estimates that vibriosis causes 80,000 illnesses each year in the United States. About 52,000 of these illnesses are estimated to be the result of eating contaminated food.
The most commonly reported species, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, is estimated to cause 45,000 illnesses each year in the United States.
Is vibriosis a serious disease?
Most people with a mild case of vibriosis recover after about 3 days with no lasting effects. However, people with a V. vulnificus infection can get seriously ill and need intensive care or limb amputation. About a quarter of people with this type of infection die, sometimes within a day or two of becoming ill.
How can vibriosis be prevented?
To reduce your chance of getting vibriosis, don’t eat raw or undercooked shellfish, such as oysters. If you have a wound (including cuts and scrapes), avoid contact with brackish or salt water or cover the wound with a waterproof bandage if there’s a possibility it could come into contact with brackish or salt water, raw seafood, or raw seafood juices.
How does CDC monitor vibriosis?
Vibriosis has been a nationally notifiable disease since 2007.
Health departments report cases to the Cholera and Other Vibrio Illness Surveillance (COVIS) system. COVIS was initiated by CDC, FDA, and four Gulf Coast states (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas) in 1989. By the early 2000s, almost all states were voluntarily reporting.
Because Vibrio bacteria are not easily identified with routine testing, many cases are not reported.
Raw oysters always looked a bit disgusting to me, so there’s no chance I will try them anytime soon. They look relatively slimy and the texture they present looks like something awful to eat. Some people enjoy them, but I’d rather eat a handful of live crickets then slurp down a salty looking slime puddle.
On second thought, maybe not.
I don’t want that, either.
Raw oysters may be a delicacy to some people, but it looks like it fell out of the dumpster in the sea to me. If I could take a science project and mix it with trash, then that’s what oysters look like to me. If a whale passed gas and it was moist, then that’s what oysters look like to me. Even without hearing about the horrible incident that took place with the Texan woman eating raw oysters on vacation, you still wouldn’t get me to eat them.
Raw oysters? No thanks! Be careful what you eat!