Late last year, Jeanette LeBlanc and her wife were vacationing in Louisiana. The pair went crabbing with friends and family and consumed roughly two dozen raw oysters. LeBlanc’s health almost immediately took a turn, at first in the form of respiratory distress and a rash that made it appear as though LeBlanc was having an allergic reaction to the meal. That rash eventually turned into large wounds on her legs.Within 36 hours, she had a hard time breathing.
She went to the hospital thinking she was going to get antiallergy medication, but doctors diagnosed her with vibriosis, a disease contracted from consuming raw and under-cooked seafood or by exposing your bloodstream to the bacteria. After a three week battle, LeBlanc passed away in October 2017.
According to the CDC, most vibrio infections from oysters result in vomiting and diarrhea, but other strains of the bacteria can cause more severe illnesses, such as bloodstream infections and skin lesions.
Food-poisoning attorney Bill Marler says he will never eat raw oysters. “Oysters are filter feeders, so they pick up everything that’s in the water,” he told BottomLineInc. “If there’s bacteria in the water it’ll get into their system, and if you eat it you could have trouble. I’ve seen a lot more of that over the last five years than I saw in the last 20 years. It’s simply not worth the risk.”