The girl who was pulled into the water by a sea lion in Vancouver over the weekend is receiving medical treatment to stave off any potential bacterial infection that could have infiltrated her system through a cut on her finger. The family, who has not been identified, contacted the Vancouver aquarium for help after hearing marine experts speak about “seal finger” during media interviews.
“The family saw the media reports and got in touch with us,” Deana Lancaster, the aquarium spokeswoman, told ABC News. “She did get a superficial wound, and she’s going to get the right treatment.”
Seal finger is caused by several types of Mycoplasma bacteria that are found in the mouths of sea mammals. If left untreated, the infection could turn severe, and even lead to a loss of fingers or limbs.
“If any member of our animal care team receives a bite from a seal or sea lion, they take a letter from our vet with them to the hospital, which explains that the infection is resistant to some antibiotics,” Lancaster told ABC News.
It is not clear what treatment the girl is receiving, but, according to the report, antibiotics such as tetracycline may be used on patients.
The dramatic incident was caught on camera by a college student who recorded it on his cellphone. Michael Fujiwara told the Vancouver Sun that the sea lion had attracted attention from tourists in the area, and that the girl and her family were possibly feeding the animal before it grabbed her and dragged her into the water.
A family member dove in after her.
A marine mammal expert at the University of British Columbia said the family took a risk when they got close to the animal.
“This was a male California sea lion,” Andrew Trites told the CBC. “They are not circus performers. They’re not trained to be next to people.”