Seven year old boy dies from flesh eating bacterial disease
Sept 1, 2012
A seven-year-old boy from Texas who developed a rash under his arm during a July trip to San Diego, California, died after contracting a flesh-eating bacterial infection, the Medical Examiner’s Office announced on Thursday
Tevita Alatini’s official cause of death was listed as bacterial necrotizing myositis, which means that infection spread into muscle tissue.
Officials listed autoimmune hemolytic anemia - a malfunction of the immune system - as a contributing condition.
Alatini passed away on July 10 at Rady Children’s Hospital, three days after arriving in San Diego with his family from Spring, Texas, for a family reunion, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Shortly after the boy’s death, his uncle Sione Niko told the North County Times that the family had traveled to Lake O’Neill Recreational Park on the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base on July 9 when his nephew fell ill and developed a rash.
Helen Niko, one of Tevita's aunts, told San Diego's 10News.com: 'He was happy and climbing light poles and running around and having a good time just like any other seven-year-old would.
'At first we thought it was nothing to worry about as he was born with a weak immune system but then the rash came.'
Flesh-eating infections are often contracted while swimming in a lake or pond, and the boy's parents told the press in July that their son ventured into the water during the camping trip.
However, Niko insisted that his nephew did not even go near the lake.
'He was sitting down and just hanging out with everybody, just having family time. Then he was complaining about a pain on his side, and it started off just like a little rash, and then it just became bigger,' Niko said.
He was just laying there not feeling well, and he was throwing up again, and he just became real sick. He wasn’t really responding to his mother, so that’s when they decided that he needed to go straight to the ER.'
The autopsy conducted on the seven-year-old’s body did not address how the boy might have developed the rare disease.
Tevita’s parents noticed a large red spot under his left arm after their lake outing and took their son to the base hospital, where doctors recognized the signs of a severe infection and had the child airlifted to Rady Children’s Hospital.
The boy went into medical arrest shortly after arriving at the hospital and was pronounced dead early the next morning.
The day after he died, the family held a memorial for the seven-year-old at the beach at Camp Pendleton.
The bacteria that led to Tevita’s death is known to release toxins which destroy tissue, thus earning it the term ‘flesh-eating.’
According to the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation, it can be caused by various types of germs which usually enter the body through a wound in the skin, sometimes as small as a paper cut. They can also be swallowed or inhaled.
One drop of untreated water can contain millions of bacteria. It is possible to develop skin infections, ear infections, eye infections, diarrhea, and respiratory infections from contaminated lake water.
If caught early, the rapidly progressing disease can be stopped with the use of antibiotics, according to the foundation.
Labels: autoimmune hemolytic anemia, bacterial necrotizing myositis, flesh eating bacteria, immune system, Infection