Report: Calif. pastor dies of flesh-eating bacterial infection

Pastor Linda Synder (left) died of the flesh-eating infection necrotizing fasciitis.
pastor linda synder, necrotizing fasciitis
Pastor Linda Synder (left) died of the flesh-eating infection necrotizing fasciitis.

(CBS News) The flesh-eating bacterial infection necrotizing fasciitis has reportedly taken the life of a California pastor.

Pastor Linda Snyder, of the United Methodist Church in Sacramento, died after nearly a six-month battle with the infection, KTXL-TV in Sacramento reported. According to the station, Snyder was rushed to the hospital on January 6th when a wound - possibly an abscess - was taken over by necrotizing fasciitis.

Flesh-eating bacteria victim Aimee Copeland's condition improves
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Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare but serious soft-tissue infection that can destroy the muscles, skin and underlying tissue in a person it infects. It occurs when a flesh-eating bacteria - often Streptococcus - invades a cut, wound or scrape and releases harmful toxins that kill tissue and disrupt blood flow to the infected area. As the tissue dies, bacteria enter the blood stream and spreads through the body, often requiring surgeries to stop its spread. A person infected by the bacteria is unlikely to get necrotizing fasciitis unless he or she has an open wound, chickenpox, or a weakened immune system.

"She developed lots of complications as a result of the bacteria and surgeries to contain the bacteria. Her lungs were really scarred and she had lots of lung issues and pneumonia almost nonstop," Synder's daughter Karen told KTXL-TV.

Snyder's lungs and kidneys eventually gave out. KTXL-TV reported that Synder was married to her husband Chuck for 37 years and ministered to hundreds of Methodists over her 17-years as a pastor.

Necrotizing fasciitis has made headlines recently in the case of 24-year-old Aimee Copeland, who has been battling an especially rare form of the disease since May, HealthPopreported. After losing her both hands, her left leg and right foot, Copeland's condition was upgraded yesterday from critical to serious.

There are anywhere from 500 to 1,500 cases of necrotizing fasciitis each year in which 20 percent of people will die, according to the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation.

WebMD has more information on necrotizing fasciitis.