Teen in hospital for flesh eating bacteria, possibly Mobile's 5t - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Teen in hospital for flesh eating bacteria, possibly Mobile's 5th Vibrio case


There is another possible case of Vibrio Vulnificus on the Gulf Coast. A local teen is in the hospital battling a flesh eating bacteria on his hand.

So far this year, there have been 4 confirmed cases in Mobile County – two from the waters near Dauphin Island and the others from consuming raw oysters.

It's too soon to know for sure if this teen's case is actually vibrio vulnificus, but both he and his mom tell FOX10 News all the red flags are there.

"I don't want to be in here, but I have to,” said 16-year-old Matthew Collier in a phone video chat from his hospital bed at USA Children’s and Women’s. He has been up all night taking antibiotics every few hours for two lesions on his hand.

"They started him on the IV antibiotics right away. They did lots of blood work,” said Danielle Collier, Matthew’s mother. “They said it takes a week or so to get an actual positive test back, but they are treating it as though it is a flesh eating bacteria."

Collier says it started with small cut on his finger from football practice – a cut that was almost healed until he went swimming off Dauphin Island on Friday. He said his skin surrounding the cut started blistering.

"It was getting better, but when I jumped in the water, it ended up getting worse,” said Matthew.

Health experts say exposing an open wound to salty/brackish water increases the chances of contracting Vibrio Vulnificus - the flesh eating bacteria that lives in the warm Gulf water.

If not treated fast enough, the bacteria can have devastating effects. After hearing about the at least 4 other cases in Mobile County, the Colliers weren’t taking any chances. They rushed Matthew to the ER at Mobile Infirmary.

"They [doctors] are looking for signs of healing and no more spreading,” said Danielle.

It is unclear how long Matthew will have to stay in the hospital. While the two areas of infection on his hand may not look pretty, he appears to be in good shape compared to other photos from vibrio survivors. He says he's thankful for that.

"One dude posted his leg and how bad it got,” said Matthew. “I'm just in the beginning of it."

A spokesperson with the Mobile County Health Department also couldn't confirm yet if this case is vibrio, but he says the department will start looking into it.

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