Fayetteville, N.C. — A 75-year-old Spring Lake woman died from a flesh-eating bacteria infection earlier this month, the Cumberland County Health Department said Monday.
Phyllis Loan Mason died Sept. 5. at Cape Fear Valley Hospital from an infection of the hypermucoviscous Klebsiella pneumonia bacteria, the health department said.
Mason's son said the bacteria got into her system through an open wound.
It is the third publicized case of flesh-eating bacteria in North Carolina in recent years. In 2006, 44-year-old Sharon Bishop, a certified nursing assistant from Angier, contracted the bacteria after she jammed her thumb in a wheelchair at work.
Even after doctors amputated her arm and the areas around it and administered multiple medications, Bishop died within days of the infection.
In Raleigh, Jennifer Thomas survived a flesh-eating infection in 2009 after she scraped her ankle while playing with her son at a park. She was in a medically induced coma for two weeks, but eventually recovered after a series of skin grafts and a year of physical therapy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a flesh-eating bacteria infection, also called necrotizing fasciitis, is fatal about 25 percent of the time.