A teenage boy from North Carolina contracted a flesh-eating bacteria while visiting family in Baltimore, and is now receiving treatment at an area hospital.
CBS Baltimore reports 16-year-old Kahlil Colkley initially started showing symptoms for strep bacteria, but when his condition didn’t improve over the course of the next several days, the teen then developed a fever and chills.
Then he noticed something spreading on his leg, prompting his mother, Christel, to take him to the emergency room at Sinai Hospital. There, doctors diagnosed Kahlil with step bacterial infection and a flesh-eating bacteria. The boy and his mother are not sure how he contracted the infection.
“If we would have waited another day or who knows hours he may not have been here at all,” Christel said of her teenage son.
“I went through a lot of emotions, especially seeing him in a sedated coma with the breathing tube because of him having to go in and out of surgery.”
Sinai Hospital’s Dr. Janet Conway said Kahlil has received nearly ten surgeries on his leg since being admitted to the hospital just over a month ago, most recently receiving a skin graft on his leg. Although the surgeries were successful, the teen will remain at the hospital for at least another month as doctors monitor his condition, CBS Baltimore reports.
“The tissue plains are being dissected by the infection, the blood flow to the skin is cut off and so all this tissue winds up dying because the infection is cut off the blood supply to the skin, that’s sort of the reason why it gets that scary name,” Dr. Conway said.
Doctors at Sinai Hospital say that the teen will fortunately not lose his leg, and will be fully functional following rehab and physical therapy, according to the news outlet.
Doctors warn that the bacteria is life-threatening, and urge anyone with similar symptoms to visit the nearest emergency room immediately, as their is a better likelihood for success should the infection be treated quickly. The parasite is known to thrive in warm waters, with cases increasing during the summertime.