Siblings separated by deadly bug
AN Aussie brother and sister, who both live with a debilitating disease, have been banned from seeing each other as one fights for her life in a Melbourne hospital.
On Tuesday, Claudia Coll, 18, and Jordan, 13 - who both suffer from cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that attacks their respiratory and digestive systems - were separated when "the unthinkable" happened.
The Melbourne-based brother and sister have spent years of their lives away from their parents, Peter and Kate, and two other siblings, fighting off recurring infections and enduring painful surgeries.
Claudia was even forced to have part of her lung removed in 2012.
But earlier this week, Claudia underwent a lung transplant after picking up a deadly bug called Burkholderia cepacia, which means she can no longer be around her brother, according to a report by Yahoo News.
Burkholderia cepacia is particularly dangerous in cystic fibrosis patients due to their already weakened immune system, with doctors at the Monash Children's Hospital stating both Claudia and Jordan likely picked it up as young kids, playing outside in the dirt.
Mr Coll told the publication his daughter's health had rapidly deteriorated a month earlier when her lung function dropped to "below 30 per cent".
After being put on antibiotics, things didn't improve and she was transferred to The Alfred Hospital where her father was told "the unthinkable".
"I'm a mess," Mr Coll said.
"I was told with the lungs she has, she would have six weeks (to live), but if she gets worse that could change to six hours."
However the life-saving surgery means Claudia has to sacrifice time with her brother - who also has the same bug - as the transplant weakens her immune system, which Mr Coll said would be extremely painful for the pair who "adore each other".
The siblings have developed a strong bond as they help each other stay positive and fight whatever bug comes their way.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help pay for Claudia's care and support the family while they keep a bedside vigil for Claudia at hospital.
The page has already raised almost $50,000 in just five days.
Mr Coll told the publication if Jordan came into contact with his immunocompromised sister, she could die.
"It's more in the early stages she could become septic as her immune system recovers," Mr Coll said.
"With B. cepacia, you never know what's going to happen. We don't know how long they could potentially be apart."