Speed Reads

Hurricane Harvey aftermath

Elderly woman dies after contracting flesh-eating infection in Hurricane Harvey floodwaters

A 77-year-old Houston woman who fell into contaminated floodwaters during Hurricane Harvey and contracted a flesh-eating infection has died, Texas officials said.

Nancy Reed died Sept. 15, becoming the 36th Harvey-related death in Texas, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Science said. Reed was wounded when she fell inside her flooded home, and she contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a skin infection that kills the body's soft tissue, NBC News reports. This is a rare disease, with just 700 to 1,100 cases reported in the U.S. every year. Because the bacteria spread fast, if not treated quickly, the infection is deadly.

Public health officials worried about contaminated water making people sick, and Reed wasn't the only person to contract necrotizing fasciitis — KPRC reports that a first responder in Missouri City, Texas, was also infected earlier this month during rescue operations but has recovered.