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Matthew Mckinney

Matthew Mckinney

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ADVERTISEMENTBookmark this page to:�����������������������������PhotosTeen sickened by bacteria continues to improveBy Donnie Sewell Staff writer�A Fayetteville teenager who lost part of his nose and mouth to a rare bacterial infection is improving, his father says.The infection that sickened 14-year-old Matthew McKinney is clearing, Brian McKinney said Friday.

Tests show Matthew's blood is mostly clear of the infection, and the infection in his lungs is improving as well, he said.The family is waiting for results of a spinal tap to see if the infection is in Matthew's cerebral fluid.

Early indications are the infection did not reach his brain, McKinney said.McKinney said Matthew was awake Thursday for the first time since he was rushed into surgery Sunday at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.Doctors removed the left half of Matthew's nose and palate.

He also lost five teeth.McKinney said a doctor explained the situation to Matthew on Thursday."The poor thing broke down," McKinney said.

"Then I started encouraging him.

I told him, 'They're gonna make ya look like a movie star.

They're gonna give you a new nose and new teeth.'"He's kind of a jokester, so I started joking with him that he was still going to have to brush his teeth because he still has some real ones in there."McKinney said doctors will not perform cosmetic surgery for at least two months to allow Matthew's body to heal.

He said Matthew will remain on antibiotics for that time to ensure the infection is cleared.He said Matthew was having a feeding tube installed Friday, which he will have for a minimum of six to eight weeks.

That will allow him to slowly build up to eating solid food again.

McKinney said doctors will place a temporary palate in Matthew's mouth.Matthew will remain in the hospital for at least another one to two weeks, he said.Matthew had a bit of luck on his side once he was transferred to UNC Hospitals from Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

McKinney said one doctor there had treated a case of the bacterial infection five years ago.

That case was isolated to the person's extremities.Infection's causeMatthew's infection was caused by a bacteria called chromobacterium viloaceum.

Health officials said the bacteria is common during summer in water and soil in warm, freshwater lakes.Cumberland County health officials and his family said they believe Matthew was exposed to the bacteria while swimming in Hope Mills Lake on June 14.There have been fewer than 150 cases of infection from the bacteria reported worldwide since 1927, according to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many of those cases have been fatal.Because of the small number of cases, however, health officials said Matthew's infection did not warrant a public health warning or the closing of Hope Mills Lake.Staff writer Donnie Sewell can be reached at [email protected] or 486-3570.

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http://www.fayobserver.com/Articles/2009/06/27/912928
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