A California woman’s tragic tale is gaining traction online after she was forced to have her limbs amputated as a result of contracting flesh-eating bacteria from eating bad tilapia.

According to disturbing reports, 40-year-old Laura Barajas bought the fish from a local market back in July. Yet after cooking and eating it, the mom-of-three fell ill almost immediately.

Over $123,000 has now been raised for Laura after a GoFundMe page was established to help with her medical bills. If nothing else, her story serves as a stark warning for others, and one that is most certainly worth paying attention to…

California mom has limbs amputated

As per the New York Post, Laura Barajas is a mom-of-three who lives with her partner Jose Valdez, her 6-year-old son, and Jose’s two other children in San Jose.

Yet her life was flipped upside down after she purchased and cooked tilapia at a local market some months ago. Laura is said to have fallen sick a day after consuming the fish, and was subsequently rushed to hospital.

There, doctors diagnosed her with the aggressive – and, frankly, terrifying – Vibrio vulnificus, a type of dangerous bacteria that can be found in undercooked seafood.

Credit / GoFundMe – Help with Lauras’ Unexpected Turn

After Laura’s GoFundMe page – set up by close friend Anna Messina – went live, a harrowing image emerged showing the mom lying in a hospital bed.

“All four of [her] limbs had to be removed in order to save her life,” the GoFundMe page reads.

“Find it in your hearts to support this beautiful family during this incredibly challenging time.

“What has happened to them could happen to any of us.”

MONTERY PARK, CA – JANUARY 27: A live tilapia is fished out of an aeration tank for a customer to purchase at Great Wall Supermarket (GW Supermarket) on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022 in Montery Park, CA. The Lunar New Year (Year of the Tiger) begins Tuesday, Feb. 1st, but due to Omicron and exploding COVID cases, gone are the big banquets and multi-generational family gatherings. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Laura is said to have undergone life-saving surgery yesterday (Thursday, September 21), and her rising medical bills are an obvious cause of extra stress for her family.

At the time of writing, the GoFundMe page has raised in excess of $123,000 – the money will be put towards lessening the financial strain.

“The mounting hospital bills are overwhelming,” Messina said. “Laura’s physical condition will necessitate significant changes to their lives as they adapt to her new circumstances.”

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a Vibrio vulnificus infection can lead to amputations of affected limbs. It can also cause death within a day or two of a person becoming infected.

Speaking to KRON, UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Natasha Spottiswoode explained: “The ways you can get infected with this bacteria are, one, you can eat something that’s contaminated with it [and] the other way is by having a cut or tattoo exposed to water in which this bug lives.”


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