By Harriet McLeod

CHARLESTON, S.C., July 17 (Reuters) - A South Carolina mother who contracted a flesh-eating bacterial infection soon after giving birth to twins in May was released from a hospital on Tuesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Lana Kuykendall, 36, a former paramedic, spoke publicly on Monday for the first time since she was hospitalized in Greenville, South Carolina, with necrotizing fasciitis, a rare and serious infection of the skin and soft tissues.

"I'm just very grateful to be alive," the Greenville News quoted Kuykendall as saying of her two-month recovery. "I should be able to get around at home with a walker. But I won't be running any races soon."

Kuykendall was hospitalized on May 11 with a painful spot on her leg that quickly grew larger. She was in critical but stable condition for weeks and had more than 20 surgeries on her legs, including skin grafts but no amputations.

She will continue her recovery at home.

Another victim of necrotizing fasciitis, Georgia graduate student Aimee Copeland, moved from Doctors Hospital of Augusta to a rehabilitation center on July 2. Copeland lost her left leg, her right foot and her hands to the infection.

Copeland's infection was caused by water-borne bacteria she contracted after she fell from a zip-line into a river and gashed her leg.

Kuykendall's infection was caused by Group A streptococcus, said Dr. Bill Kelly, epidemiologist for the Greenville Hospital System. (Editing by Colleen Jenkins)

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