Alatani and his family were vacationing at Camp Pendleton's Lake O'Neill recreational Park, CBS Los Angeles
"He was happy and climbing light poles and running around and having a good time just like any other 7-year old would," Helen Niko, one of the boy's aunts told News 10
. "We saw absolutely no sign of illness or anything," Niko said.
Suddenly, Tevita began vomiting. Since he was born with a weak auto-immune system, the family didn't consider it a huge deal. He developed a rash that spread quickly, and he began complaining of a pain in his side, his uncle, Sione Niko, told CBS8
According to the NY Daily News,
family members were concerned Tevita contracted some sort of flesh-eating bacteria.
Infections from flesh eating bacteria can quickly destroy tissue and muscle after entering the body.
Some of the bacteria that causes these deadly infections lurk in bodies of water such as lakes and ponds.
Tevita Alatani died shortly after arriving at the emergency room.
"It sounded like an overwhelming strep or staph infection," Dr William Thompson told CBS Los Angeles
. Thompson had never treated Alatani, but agrees with his family that the infection was likely caused by flesh eating bacteria.
Dr. Thompson said he's actually seen a lot of these cases in the last few years.
"It's disconcerting because the morbidity is so high with these patients," Thompson said.