Hannele Cox, California Teen, Coming To Colorado For Treatment Of Rare Flesh-Eating Fish Tank Bacteria In Her Hand

Hannele Cox, 13, will continue her battle with a rare and virulent form of flesh-eating bacteria in her hand that she became infected with from her home fish tank. She starts further treatment at National Jewish Health Center In Denver later this week.

When Cox was only 8-years-old she was cleaning out the family fish tank and contracted a very rare infection in a scrape on her hand called mycobacterium marinum, or sometimes called fish tank granuloma, according to 7News. That was five years ago and now the bacteria seems to have become drug-resistant and transformed into a “superbug” strain that is eating away tissue and several bones in her right hand which could lead to amputation.

“I can’t use the hand at all. I’m in pain all the time,” Cox says to ABC News.

Cox can no longer play volleyball, do gymnastics or ride her horses because of this debilitating bacterial infection, 9News reports. The 8th grader’s school work has even been negatively affected by this rare bacteria, that is only diagnosed in 100 to 150 people each year, because Cox is unable to write with her right hand, her dominant hand, as it is constantly shaking with pain.

After multiple antibiotic treatments and two surgeries at Loma Linda Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center, both in California, over the years, Cox is weary and anxious of this latest attempt in Denver. Cox, in a statement to ABC News:

I’m afraid they won’t be able to fix it. I’m afraid they’ll mess up again and I’ll go through something I didn’t have to, like with past treatments.

9News reports that National Jewish Health Center surgeons will implant antibiotic beads into Cox’s hand with hopes this treatment will stop the growth of the bacteria which would ultimately allow her to keep her hand.