Rash Breaks Out on Woman's Leg after Eating Raw Oysters, Left Dead 21 Days Later


When it comes to health and safety, precautions are our friends. No matter how fun or seemingly harmless the outing, basic precautions save lives.

It is important to recognize that while the world is not an essentially evil place, it does have its dangers. Nature is beautiful, awe-inspiring, and awesome, but it does not exactly respect humanity.

The boy scouts say “‘be prepared.” Being prepared is not the same thing as being afraid.

Being prepared is about intelligent and thoughtful approaches to things that allow the greatest number of people to be safe.

Jeanette LeBlanc, who lives in Texas, was visiting family and friends in Louisiana with Vicki Bergquist. While on a crabbing trip with family and friends, she purchased a bag of raw oysters.

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She ate about two dozen oysters with her friend and Bergquist. She quickly developed a rash and respiratory issues.

“I would call it an allergic reaction,” her friend Karen Bowers said. “That is what we thought it was.”

Two days later, doctors told her she had vibrio: a flesh-eating bacteria.  According to the Centers of Disease Control, “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.”

LeBlanc had been exposed to both, and in a matter of 21 days, she lost her battle to the vicious, flesh-eating disease.

“She was a great person. Laughed a lot. Loved her family, loved her dad a lot,” Bergquist said.

“You have to have a pre-existing cut—or you have to eat raw, contaminated seafood or chug a whole lot of contaminated water—for it to get into your bloodstream,” Microbiolgist Gabrielle Barbarite said.

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There are an estimated 800,000 Vibrio cases each year. Of these, there are 100 deaths.

While the oysters are generally being blamed for taking the life of LeBlanc, some are suggesting that perhaps she contracted it while crabbing.

After all, she wasn’t the only one who ate the oysters, and the others seem to be fine.

No matter what the actual culprit was, this was still a tragedy, and my condolences go out to the family and friends of Jeanette LeBlanc.

Both Bowers and Bergquist are now out to warn people of the dangers that claimed the life of their beloved LeBlanc. “It we had known that the risk was so high, I think she would’ve stopped eating oysters,” said Bergquist.

There is no way to prepare for some things. While I urge precaution, I also urge grace to others and the world when people are confronted by the unexpected.

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