Health Officials Issue Warning About Eating Leftovers After Deadly Bacteria Left A Woman Paralyzed And On A Ventilator

A young woman in Colorado is paralyzed after consuming leftover soup. Health officials emphasize proper food handling. Family fundraises for medical costs.

Claudia de Albuquerque Celada

Health authorities have issued a grave advisory following a distressing incident wherein a young woman was left paralyzed after consuming soup. Claudia de Albuquerque Celada, a 23-year-old Brazilian, now finds herself reliant on a ventilator, battling for her life in a hospital.

Claudia, who was participating in an exchange program in Aspen, Colorado, reported experiencing paralysis, vertigo, double vision, and respiratory distress, leading to her hospitalization in February. Since then, she has been under intensive care at the Swedish Medical Center in Denver, requiring ventilatory support.

Approximately two weeks after her admission, Claudia received a diagnosis of botulism, a rare yet severe condition triggered by a toxin that targets the nerves, resulting in breathing difficulties, muscular paralysis, and potentially fatal consequences.

Health authorities suspect that Claudia's illness may be linked to the consumption of soup, which she reportedly purchased from a prominent US retailer. While tests conducted on samples of soup from the same store returned negative for botulism, investigators believe that improper storage or reheating methods employed by Claudia could have facilitated her infection.

Claudia de Albuquerque Celada
Claudia de Albuquerque Celada

The Pitkin County Health department has issued a cautionary statement, emphasizing the importance of adequately reheating meals and reassessing food handling practices to mitigate similar risks. Despite ruling out a widespread outbreak, officials underscore the significance of preventive measures, particularly in food handling, to curb potential infections.

A representative at Pitkin County Health told the Daily Mail: "Because an outbreak was ruled out, we really focus on the prevention aspect.

"Because there wasn't a common source of exposure that impacted a larger swatch of the population, or if there were multiple cases associated, we really look at food handling as likely being the cause of the infection."

While authorities are confident that the issue likely stemmed from mishandling rather than the soup product itself, pinpointing the exact breakdown in the process remains challenging. As Claudia's ordeal continues, her sister, Luísa Albuquerque, disclosed plans to repatriate her to Brazil to be closer to family and friends, believing it would expedite her recovery.

“We think that recovery close to family and friends is much faster. Comparing the costs between staying here and returning to Brazil, the return is still cheaper,” Luisa said on social media.

The mounting medical expenses have prompted Claudia's family to launch a fundraising campaign through Vakinha to alleviate the financial burden, with donations aimed at covering her escalating healthcare costs, which reportedly amount to $10,000 per day at the Denver hospital. Despite their efforts, contributions to date remain insufficient to meet the substantial expenses.