Sept. 27 (UPI) — A Houston woman has died from flesh-eating bacteria she contracted after exposure to Hurricane Harvey floodwaters, the medical examiner’s office announced.
Nancy Reed, 77, died of flood-necrotizing fasciitis on Sept. 15, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences ruled. She fell into contaminated flood water in her home and was hospitalized after an arm wound became infected.
Reed’s is the second known case of the presence of the bacteria related to the hurricane. J.R. Atkins, a former firefighter, survived although he was infected by an insect bite on his arm while performing rescue operations in Missouri City, a Houston suburb.
The illness spreads quickly through muscle tissue, and can lead to organ failure. The Centers for Disease Control said that between 700 and 1,000 cases of necrotizing fasciitis are diagnosed annually in the United States.
Although flood waters in the Houston area have receded, officials say bacteria can remain present on surfaces exposed to contaminated water.
Reed is the 36th official reported death due to Harvey in Harris County. The storm is responsible for the deaths of 75 people statewide