Man who Helped Hurricane victims Dies of rare Skin Disease


The Houston Chronicle reported that Nancy Reed, 77, died on September 15 from necrotizing fasciitis after earlier falling into Hurricane Harvey floodwaters at her home, according to a Harris County medical examiner's office ruling.

A second person in Texas has died from a flesh-eating bacterial infection contracted in the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey, according to a Texas health department statement.

The Galveston County Health District reported that Zurita went to a hospital October 10 with a severely infected wound on his arm. An obituary said Zurita was a hard-working carpenter who left Mexico to help provide for his family, and that he became infected while working to rebuild Harris and Galveston counties.

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Dr. Philip Keiser with the Galveston County Health District says bacteria from Harvey debris or floodwater entered the man's body through a wound or cut. "He has a lot of friends here in Galveston that loves him". Clevelon Brown, 64, of Galveston County picked up a bacterial infection from standing in floodwater and died of sepsis - an immune-system response to infection that causes widespread inflammation. "He was very young and always smiling". The most common type, group A Streptococcus, has led to about 700 to 1,100 annual cases of necrotizing fasciitis in the USA since 2010.

Keiser said, "What happens is, you get some kind of break in the skin, and in that area - between the skin and the muscle - it's a fairly open space where the bacteria can grow".

"Even in one case, as I was examining a patient, I could see the red spread in the minutes I was examining him, and that's the real danger to it", Keiser said.

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J.R. Atkins, a former first responder, was likewise infected with flesh-eating bacteria, but survived.

The CDC said toxins made by the bacteria can destroy the tissue they infect, causing it to die, where those suffering from the bacteria can lose limbs or die. The health district's news release also noted that proper wound care is vital to preventing infections. They should avoid contact with whirlpools, hot tubs and swimming pools, as well as with natural bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers or oceans.

Those with open wounds should wash their hands often, with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

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Seek medical attention for redness, swelling or fever.