Vietnam baby infected with deadly bone bacterium

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A girl in south central Vietnam is infected with a rare bacterium that has damaged parts of her skull. The disease is believed to be fatal.

Doctors at the Children's Hospital No.2 in Ho Chi Minh City said the child, who was not named, was infected with Chromobacterium violaceum, which can cause skin lesions and sepsis.

The latest victim of the illness represents the youngest case reported in Vietnam, they said.

Surgery was performed to remove infected parts of the child's skull, in an attempt to stop the infection from spreading, news website VnExpress said Wednesday.

The young patient has been ailing for at least four months, with symptoms such as severely infected blood, inflammation of the forehead and thigh bones, as well as high fever and vomiting.

She was sent to HCMC from Binh Thuan Province around 200 kilometers away after local treatments did not help, the report said.

Her mother said that initially, when the child's forehead started to swell, she thought it was an injury from falling.

"But then the girl refused to eat, weakened and became difficult to comfort," the mother said.

The child remains at the hospital and is receiving post surgical care. Doctors said her condition is unstable because her fever has not subsided and there's still a chance that the infection will reemerge.

Synthetic bone fragment will replace the removed parts of her skull, when doctors are confident that the bacterium will not cause further infection.

A four year old boy was the first reported victim of this bacterium in Vietnam. He was treated at the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases a year ago.

He arrived overwhelmed by a severe blood infection, difficulty breathing and weak pulse.

There have been reports of some cases among older children as well.

The bacterium is found in soil and can infect children simply from scratches they might receive from falls. It resists several antibiotics penicillin, doctors said.

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