Fishy Infection

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 1:32pm

Teen may lose hand to rare infection picked up from her home aquarium.

13-year-old Hannele Cox is trying not to get her hopes up.

She has been down this road before.

Next week, the California teen and her parents will travel to Colorado in hopes of saving her hand from being amputated.

Five years ago while cleaning out the family fish tank Hannele came in contact with the slow growing atypical bacteria mycobacterium marinium.

This is a very rare infection, which can cause skin lesions and eat away at tissues and bones.

Only 100 to 150 cases are diagnosed each year and most of those cases are in adults.

Hannele has been repeatedly treated but the infection keeps returning, and has actually become stronger and drug-resistant.

Hannele has had to give up many activities because of her infection.

She can no longer play volleyball or do gymnastics.

She had to sell her horses because she can no longer ride them.

In a few days, surgeons at National Jewish Health Center in Denver will implant antibiotic beads in Hannele's hands in hopes of stopping the growth of this rare bacteria.

If the beads work, Hannele will be able to keep her hand.

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