A new mom in South Carolina is the second person in recent weeks to contract a rare disease known as flesh-eating bacteria.
Lana Kuykendall, 36, from Piedmont had just returned home after giving birth to twins when she felt severe pain in her leg, reports WYFF-TV. Her husband, Darren, rushed her to the hospital when they noticed that an unusual spot on the back of her leg was spreading.
Lana Kuykendall has undergone four surgeries to prevent the bacteria—from a syndrome known as necrotizing fasciitis—from getting worse. The bacteria comes from a type of streptococcus, which also causes strep throat. In the infrequent cases when the bacteria makes its way to the blood, muscle, or lungs, it can be life-threatening, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lana Kuykendall is in critical but stable condition. It is unclear how she contracted the bacteria.
"The sad part about it is that she hasn't gotten to see the babies for the first week of their lives," says Darren Kuykendall. "I talk to her every day. I tell her how good she's doing, and how strong she is, and that she's a fighter. She can make it." Friends and family are watching over the healthy twins.
Georgia graduate student Aimee Copeland, 24, grabbed national headlines after she contracted the infection from a zip-lining accident on May 1. She fell near the Little Tallapoosa River and the bacteria entered her body through a gash in her leg. Most of her left leg has been amputated, and she will also lose her fingers, according to a report in the Associated Press. Doctors are using a process that accelerates healing to save her palms.
Sean Helgesen says he got lucky in his battle four years ago with the bacteria in a Daily Beast article. A pulled muscle during a workout quickly escalated into excruciating pain, flu-like symptoms, and immobility in his arm. He was rushed into surgery and flesh from his armpit to his hip was removed. The procedure saved his life, and underlines the necessity for rapid, aggressive surgery after diagnosis. Drugs are also used to treat the infection, but don't always work. Helgesen did not have any external cuts or scrapes, and doctors concluded that the strep bacteria was present in his system when he pulled the muscle.