Flesh-Eating Bacteria Kills 77-Year-Old Who Fell In Contaminated Hurricane Harvey Floodwaters

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HOUSTON (CBSMiami) – A 77-year-old woman has died from flesh-eating bacteria, confirming yet another death related to Hurricane Harvey.

According to the Harris County Institute for Forensic Sciences, Nancy Reed died from necrotizing fasciitis, commonly referred to as flesh-eating bacteria.

The serious bacterial skin infection spreads quickly and kills soft tissue in the body.

“After Hurricane Katrina we saw a big uptick in those serious wound infections, so it’s one of those infections that we are on the lookout for here after Harvey,” said Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine.

Officials report Reed fell in a residence contaminated by flood water.

While necrotizing fasciitis is rare, Hotez says it’s critical to lookout for symptoms such as redness or pain, fever, fatigue, nausea and vomiting if you have an open wound that’s been exposed to flood water or salt water.

“With immediate medical attention, you can get prompt antibiotic therapy, also removal of any infected tissue and that can save your life,” he said.

Good wound care like keeping open wounds clean and covered is key to preventing skin infections.

The community is remembering Reed for her involvement at this education center for adults and children with disabilities.

“God has gained an amazing angel, that’s what I would say,” said administrative specialist Tina Tilea. “And we’re going to miss her.”

Reed is Harris County’s 36th death linked to Hurricane Harvey.

The CDC says most people who get necrotizing fasciitis usually have other health problems, such as diabetes and cancer, that make it more difficult to fight off infections.

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