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Chromobacterium Violaceum

Chromobacterium Violaceum

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An apparently healthy 14 year old teenager nearly died from a common bacteria that may have been in a North Carolina Lake.

The infection began to eat away at his nose and face.

Bacteria are common in lakes, and seldom cause sickness, but in this case, digging around Hope Wells Lake in North Carolina nearly killed Matthew McKinney.

The bacteria reportedly began to eat away at his flesh, destroying healthy skin, from the resultant skin lesions that developed on his face.Chromobacterium Violaceum is a bacterium that is common in water and soil in subtropical areas.

The bacteria rarely infect humans, but can cause skin inflammation, sores, liver abscess and death.

The bacteria that infected the NC teen usually begin with inflammation (cellulitis) of the skin, then progress to abscesses.

The bacteria that began eating away at the face of the NC teen can then progress to infection and abscess of the lungs, liver, and spleen.

The infection is often fatal, especially if it enters the blood stream.

Matthew was digging around the lake the day before he became ill.

The boy developed a fever, and runny nose.

Physicians recognized that the infection was eating away at the boy's skin, as his face and gums became progressively more swollen.

Surgery was required to remove the NC teen's nose, the roof of his mouth, and five teeth in order to prevent further spread of the infection.The North Carolina Lake has not been closed.

The teenager's father would like to at least see signs posted to warn other of the dangers of disturbing the mud and contacting the bacteria that infected his son, and began eating away at his face.Fatality rates are greater than sixty percent from infection with Chromobacterium Violaceum.

Cellulitis can occur anywhere on the body after swimming in the lake and coming in contact with mud where bacteria colonize.

Symptoms of infection, especially after swimming in stagnant lakes, should be investigated for potential complications and immediate treatment.Death associated with the bacteria occurs when infection enters the bloodstream, known as sepsis.

The result is multi-organ failure.

According to reports, Matthew is still in critical condition, but improving.

In this case, the infection caused fever, stuffy nose, and facial swelling, and then the bacteria began to eat away at Matthew's skin.Treatment with antibiotics is not well-established, a factor that likely led to the decision to perform surgery on the North Carolina teenager to remove the destruction from the infection that was spreading.

Reconstructive surgery could restore the teenager's palate and nose, but only after all signs of infection are gone.

Be careful when swimming in lakes.

It is best to avoid digging around and playing in the mud to avoid risk of becoming infected with common bacteria found in lakes.Resource:
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