New case of flesh-eating bacteria reported in S.C. mom

Lana Kuykendall discovered she had been infected with necrotizing fascitis soon after she gave birth to twins. WLTX

Lana Kuykendall discovered she had been infected with necrotizing fascitis soon after she gave birth to twins.
WLTX

(CBS News) A separate case of the flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis has been reported in a South Carolina woman, and she remains in critical condition. Lana Kuykendall, 36, is currently hospitalized at Greenville Memorial Hospital after she was infected with the bacterial infection, shortly after giving birth to twins.

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"Right now, (I'm) just very worried, very upset," the victim's friend Krissy Davison told CBS affiliate WLTX in Columbia, S.C. "(I'm) still in disbelief that here is my friend, who just had these two beautiful babies, and now she is incubated upstairs and not able to enjoy the bonding experience and enjoy the babies."

Her case follows the story of 24-year-old Aimee Copeland, who was infected with the flesh-eating disease when she received a cut after riding a home-made zipline in Georgia. She still remains in intensive care, and has already had her leg amputated at the hip, HealthPop reported. Surgeons say Copeland may lose her fingers as well. The two cases are unrelated.

Kuykendall, a Greenville, S.C. resident, started to experience leg cramps a day after she gave birth to her babies, according to Greenville Online. The delivery was normal, besides the new mother needing a blood transfusion. Shortly after, Kuykendall was in so much pain that she couldn't walk, but tests revealed nothing was wrong.

The next morning, Kuykendall discovered what she thought was a blood clot at the back of her leg about the size of a 3-by-5 index card. It started growing, spreading a quarter of an inch in half an hour. That's when alarm bells went off her doctor. Within 90 minutes of returning to the hospital, Kuykendall underwent surgery for the flesh-eating bacteria.

Doctors still do not know how Kuykendall contracted the disease. According to the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation, necrotizing fasciitis is a bacterial infection typically caused by the group A Strep bacteria, which is the same bacteria that causes strep throat. The disease enters the afflicted through a tiny opening in the skin, and sometimes can happen following a major trauma or surgery. However other bacteria can cause the disease - in the case of Copeland, Aeromonas hydrophila found in warm , brackish waters invaded the cut to cause the infection, but experts said her case was rare.

According to the Foundation, anywhere from 500 to 1500 people develop necrotizing fasciitis each year, and about 20 percent die, but those statistics may vary.

While the disease can't be prevented, basic hygiene practices can help stop its spread and lower your chances of getting it. Dr. Jerry Gibson, state epidemiologist with the Department of Health and Environmental Control, told WLTX that the disease is very rare and it normally doesn't affect a lot of people in one area.

"It's just chance, it doesn't mean we're going to see another one any sooner. Please don't panic. It's very uncommon here," he said.

For more on the story, watch WLTX's interview with Gibson below.

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