A 7-year-old boy has died after contracting a mysterious rash during a family vacation to San Diego. Doctors are conducting multiple tests in order to determine what could have caused the rash that killed the boy.
Tevita Alatini was in San Diego, vacationing with his family from Texas, when he developed a small rash under his arm. He complained of a pain in his side, and Alatini's parents immediately took him to the emergency room, where he died just a short time later.
Now the family, and doctors, is seeking answers. At least one doctor believes Alatini could have contracted flesh-eating bacteria. The bacteria, which could have entered through a small cut, work quickly through the system and can be fatal if not caught in time.
"It's disconcerting because the morbidity is so high with these patients," Dr. William Thompson told CBS News. Though he never treated Alatini, he believed the bacteria could have been "strep or staph infection."
Earlier this year, Aimee Copeland became famous for her battle with flesh-eating bacteria. Copeland contracted the bacteria after sustaining a zip-line injury and had to have a quadruple amputation. She is expected to make a full recovery and is now undergoing treatment at a rehabilitation facility.
The number of flesh-eating bacteria cases has grown substantially over the past year, with more and more stories becoming public. The San Diego County Medical Examiner's office said in a statement that Alatini had a "severe infection," but the cause of death required further tests "such as microscopic or toxicological examination."
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"He was complaining about a pain on his side, and it started off just like a little rash, and then it just became bigger," Sione Niko, Alatini's uncle, told San Diego's KFMB-TV.
The family decided to get together at the beach to honor Alatini's short life hours after he died. "It was so hard for us as a family to go to the beach on Tuesday to watch all the other kids as they're coming in and out of the water and thinking, 'This was right up his alley. This was where he wanted to be," Niko added.