Woman battling cancer dies after eating bacteria-tainted oysters

A woman battling cancer died after eating oysters tainted with bacteria while celebrating her birthday on a holiday with her husband.

Jane White Cunningham was travelling in Mississippi with her husband David when she ate the contaminated shellfish, CBS Dallas-Fortworth reports.

The oysters carried the bacteria called vibrio, which gave the 56-year-old a severe infection.

Already stricken with leukaemia, Jane was rushed to hospital where doctors amputated both legs and one her arms in the hope of stopping the infection.

Jane White Cunningham and her husband David. Source: Facebook

The drastic measures were not enough to save Jane who had been dealing with cancer for the past year.

According to a friend’s post on Facebook, Jane did not qualify for health insurance due to circumstances surrounding her cancer and the family was seeking help covering the costs of the funeral.

“Jane was a sweet beautiful person inside and out,” wrote friend Janet Bertram Hallmark.

Jane (centre/inset) died from eating the tainted oyster. Source: Facebook

“She was a strong Christian lady that loved the Lord.”

Jane and her husband Dave were travelling from the Texas town of Buna where they both went to the same high school.

The vibrio bacteria are found in costal waters where oysters grow.

In most cases the infection leads to diarrhoea and vomiting but in severe cases, such as those with weakened immune systems, it can lead to amputation and death.

Jane and David went to the same high school and were celebrating Jane's 56th birthday. Source: Facebook

“If you get typical food poisoning with vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, and you've had raw oysters, you ought to consider this infection,” Dr David Winter of Baylor Hospital in Dallas told CBS DFW.

“If you've got those symptoms, you need to get to the emergency room right away and get treated.”

The best way to avoid risk of infection is cooking the crustaceans as raw or undercooked seafood increases the possibility of contracting the bacteria.

The prevalence of the bacteria is increasing due to warmer ocean temperatures as a result of climate change.