California Mom, 40, Loses All of Her Limbs ‘After Eating Undercooked Tilapia’

A heartbreaking tragedy has struck a California woman, leaving her a quadruple amputee due to a devastating bacterial infection she contracted after consuming undercooked tilapia. Laura Barajas, a 40-year-old mother, has endured a life-altering ordeal that has profoundly affected her and her loved ones.

It is believed that Barajas contracted the infection after purchasing and consuming tilapia from a local market in San Jose, a shocking turn of events that has left her family and friends devastated. In an effort to support their beloved mother, a fundraiser has been launched online to help with her growing medical bills and future challenges.

Speaking about the harrowing experience, Laura’s close friend Anna Messina revealed, “It’s just been really heavy on all of us. It’s terrible. This could’ve happened to any of us.” The severity of Barajas’s condition necessitated almost two months of hospitalization, where she underwent life-saving procedures. Messina further elaborated, “She almost lost her life. She was on a respirator. They put her into a medically induced coma. Her fingers were black, her feet were black, her bottom lip was black. She had complete sepsis, and her kidneys were failing.”

In response to Laura Barajas’s dire situation, Anna Messina initiated a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to assist her friend in facing the immense challenges ahead. On the fundraising page, Messina recounted how Laura, like any of us, had cooked herself dinner after a long day. However, things took a disastrous turn when Laura realized that something was terribly wrong, leading to her diagnosis of vibrio vulnificus the following day.

Tragically, Laura Barajas had to undergo the amputation of all four of her limbs on September 13, 2023, to save her life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an urgent warning regarding the risks associated with bacterial infections, notably vibrio vulnificus, as reported by USA Today. This infection can be contracted through the consumption of undercooked or raw fish or by exposing open wounds to coastal waters.

The CDC has reported that “at least a dozen people have died from the infection across the country this year.” UCSF Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Natasha Spottiswoode emphasized that this particular bacteria poses a heightened risk, particularly for individuals with compromised immune systems. Dr. Spottiswoode explained, “The ways you can get infected with this bacteria are one — you can eat something that’s contaminated with it. The other way is by having a cut or tattoo exposed to water in which this bug lives.”

The CDC estimates that approximately 150-200 cases of vibrio vulnificus infection are reported each year in the United States, with about one in five cases resulting in death, sometimes occurring within just one to two days of symptom onset. Anna Messina has now urged others to take preventative measures, emphasizing the importance of avoiding water immersion for individuals with cuts until they have fully healed.

The response to Laura Barajas’s tragic situation has been overwhelmingly supportive, with the GoFundMe campaign surpassing the $36,000 mark. The outpouring of generosity highlights the compassion and empathy of those who have rallied to help Laura on her difficult journey towards recovery and rehabilitation.


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