S.C. mom latest victim of 'flesh-eating bacteria'

5:13 AM, May 17, 2012   |    comments
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A South Carolina woman who gave birth to twins days ago is the latest victim of "flesh-eating bacteria."

WLTX-TV in Columbia reports that Lana Kuykendall is being treated at Greenville Memorial Hospital. "Right now, just very worried, very upset, " Krissy Davison, a friend of Kuykendall, told the station from the hospital. "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."

The news of the latest attack of the disease comes days after reports that Aimee Copeland, the 24-year-old grad student in Georgia, has lost her leg and part of her abdomen battling the bacteria.

Darren Kuykendall told WYFF-TV in Spartanburg, S.C., that his wife's vitals and blood work are good and physicians remain positive.

"It's devastating, very devastating, very overwhelming probably the worst thing I've ever done in my entire life," Darren Kuykendall told WYFF from the hospital.

Lana Kuykendall gave birth to twins Ian and Abigail on May 7 at an Atlanta hospital, but felt pain in her leg after the couple brought their newborns home to Piedmont.

Physicians still don't know how Kuykendall contracted the disease, less commonly known as necrotizing fascitis, but it's commonly spread through a cut or open wound.

Experts say the bacteria that causes the disease is more common than most people realize.

"These are "people bacteria" that live on us," state epidemiologist Jerry Gibson told WLTX. "It's really spread on fingers from person to person. We rub our nose... it spreads all over.

"It's a rare but really scary infection," Gibson said. "It's caused by two usually common bacteria, streptococcus and staphylococcus aureus, and we all have them on our body. Then every once in a while they invade and cause a very serious disease. These bacteria have got all these powerful ways of attacking us, and every now and then something turns that on and they go full blast. And the problem is we just don't know how to predict that, and prevent it.

Although there are two recent cases in the Southeast, Gibson says the bacteria doesn't normally infect people in clusters.

"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."

Gibson says if you get a cut or wound there are some signs to pay attention to, "if it gets red, it gets painful, it gets swollen up, it's not just an everyday local infection and then you get care fast."

By John Bacon

USA Today

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