College rower dies from rare infection 2 weeks after sore throat she thought was tonsillitis

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FORT MORGAN, Colo. -- A Kansas State University student who thought she had a sore throat died suddenly from a dangerous infection, according to KDVR.

Samantha Scott, of Fort Morgan, Colorado, started to feel ill, but it was initially thought tonsillitis was to blame.

Two weeks later, she was dead.

Her family says she had contracted Lemierre's syndrome, a bacterial infection begins in the throat and spreads through the lymphatic vessels. Symptoms can include sore throat and fever, followed by swelling of the internal jugular vein.

Lemierre's syndrome is a fast-acting bacteria that can take over a person's body quickly if not treated quickly. While potentially deadly, it is also rare. Doctors diagnose just 3.6 cases per 1 million people each year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Scott rowed for Kansas State, and her coach, Patrick Sweeney, said he'll remember her as a great leader and a great person.

"She was so well-liked by all of her teammates and had such a big impact on our program both on and off the water," Sweeney said in a statement. "We are all still in a state of shock, and we will continue to keep her family in our thoughts and prayers."

Scott's lifelong friend, Kennidi Cobbley, told KDVR, “She could cheer you up if you were having a bad day, and just going to practice was like being with your family and being with someone who was always upbeat and happy.”

A GoFundMe page is set up to help Scott's family with medical bills and funeral expenses. They hope to establish a scholarship in Scott's name.

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