On Oct. 5, 2018, in a seemingly ordinary transaction, Eddie and Patti Clinton, retired Wake Co., North Carolina educators/administrators, purchased two 10-pound bags of raw whole fresh shrimp. The original source of the crustaceans was a fisherman who reportedly harvested the shrimp in or near the New River in the southeastern area of the Tarheel State.
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Eddie placed the shrimp on ice in a cooler overnight. The next day he scooped the shrimp with his bare hands into smaller bags, then put them in his freezer. And, yes, he washed his hands after handling the raw shrimp.
Within about 24 hours, Eddie began experiencing soreness in his legs, shaking, feeling simultaneously hot and cold, loss of appetite, and slurred speech. By October 8, he was on life support at a Raleigh hospital in a medically-induced coma. The next day, doctors determined Eddie was infected with Vibrio vulnificus.
Eddie’s heart, liver, and kidneys were affected by the V. vulnificus, and his left leg was amputated below the knee on November 6. “This has been a horrific journey and it will be a long road to recovery,” Patti relates. “But Eddie is alive and that’s what matters most.”
About Linda L. Leake, MS
Linda L. Leake, doing business as Food Safety Ink, is a food safety consultant, registered SQF contract auditor, and award-winning freelance journalist based in Wilmington, N.C. Specializing in agriculture, food, food safety, and travel, her articles have appeared in some 89 print and online publications. Along with garnering awards for her articles and photographs, she holds the prestigious Master Writer status with American Agricultural Editors’ Association. Majoring in Dairy Science, she completed a BS in Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin and an MS in Food Safety at Michigan State University. She’s an active member of IAFP, Toxicologists Without Borders, Inc., and the National Dairy Shrine. She’s currently enrolled in the International Development Doctoral Program at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast. Reach her at Llleake@aol.com.