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CDC investigating local girl’s rare infection

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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DENISON, Texas (KXII) - A 4-year-old Denison girl is on the long road to recovery from a serious bacterial infection the CDC is calling rare in the United States.

Lylah Baker had her first of many physical therapy sessions today. Her parents, now moved into the Ronald McDonald house, said they have a long road ahead of them, but that their daughter is living proof of a miracle.

The past month and a half has been something of a nightmare for Denison firefighter, Dustin Baker.

“My worst fear has always been losing my family, my girls. Seeing Lylah like that in the hospital being intubated and everything was really hard,” said Baker.

His 4-year-old daughter Lylah first got sick at the end of May. She has spent most of her time in ICU. Doctors diagnosed her with a rare but serious bacterial infection called melioidosis.

Doctors diagnosed 4-year-old Lylah Baker with a rare but serious bacterial infection called...
Doctors diagnosed 4-year-old Lylah Baker with a rare but serious bacterial infection called melioidosis.(KXII)

“We now know what we’re dealing with and we’re hopeful and of course we are praying and staying positive that we’re gonna have a good turnout with this,” said Baker.

The CDC has been investigating 3 cases of melioidosis in the U.S. this year: one in Kansas, one in Minnesota, and Lylah in Texas. One individual died from the infection. It can only be caused by direct contact with the bacteria usually found in tropical, sub-tropical areas. None of them recently traveled out of their local areas.

“That’s the big question like everybody is how did she get it. And the honest answer to that is we don’t know,” said Baker.

The Bakers have been working with the CDC as they investigate an origin.

“Of course as we found out with Lylah it’s not something that you can test easily it’s not something you get results on fast,” said Baker.

She has come a long way, but still has a long way to go.

“I believe in my little girl and I know she’s gonna continue making miracles,” said Baker.

Baker said now he cherishes the small things like Lylah’s iPad voice recordings.

“She would like tell us that she loved us and that she hoped that we have a good day and stuff like that. Definitely keep stuff like that and keep it close because listening to those now is awesome,” said Baker.

“Daddy I love you, I think that you’re awesome!” said Lylah in a voice recording.

Lylah will need therapy to learn to talk again.

The Baker family says all of the support from the community has been a blessing.
The Baker family says all of the support from the community has been a blessing.(KXII)

“Just continue with the prayers and positive thoughts and anything that anyone can do to help,” said Baker.

The CDC said in a statement to News 12 that all three cases suggest a common source of infection, which they have yet to identify. They said the risk of exposure in the U.S. is unknown but believed to be low. They’re asking for healthcare workers to be aware of the potential for more melioidosis cases so they can be reported and investigated by the CDC.

Baker said all of the support from the community has been a blessing.

A GoFundMe can be found here, their Venmo username @dbaker5475 and their CashApp tag is $dbaker5475. ApplePay and PayPal can be sent to 903-415-0191.

A benefit for the family is scheduled for August 14th at 3:00 p.m. at 1880 Ice House in Denison. There will be a silent auction and raffle items, live music by Jerry Audley, and a pulled pork meal for $15. Proceeds will go toward Lylah’s medical bills.

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