FONTANA - Patrick Abram Jr.'s recovery from a rare and potentially deadly disease culminated in a primetime TV appearance.

Abram, who was diagnosed with Lemierre's syndrome in April 2010, was featured recently on an episode of "Monsters Inside Me" on the Animal Planet Network.

"It was interesting," said Abram, 23. "I just never thought I'd get on TV, especially for being sick."

The episode was titled "Killer in My Neck" and featured Jeffrey Roberts, director of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton.

Roberts and Tim Stevens, a former Arrowhead Regional oral surgery resident, diagnosed Abram Jr. with Lemierre's in April 2010 after he complained of a sore throat and his father, Fontana resident Patrick Abram Sr., drove him to the medical center after noticing his son's eyes were jaundiced and his jaw and left foot were swollen.

The younger Abram was hospitalized for 28 days in the intensive care unit.

Film crews in October produced recreations of various aspects of Abram's hospitalization.

Doctors opened his skull to keep pressure levels down after they were altered by the bacteria invasion. Abram survived after months of intravenous antibiotic therapy.

Lemierre's was named after French bacteriologist Andre-Alfred Lemierre, who in 1936 documented 20 cases of throat infections moving into the blood stream, potentially damaging vital organs. Eighteen of the patients died.

There have been fewer than 200 cases of Lemierre's syndrome documented in the United States in the past 50 years, according to one source.

The elder Abram said they agreed to do the TV show in order to spread the word about the rare disease.

"The overall thing was to get the story out and hopefully parents and kids get diagnosed," he said.

The younger Abram, who works full time at a San Bernardino distribution center, said he's enjoying "the chance to do the things I didn't think I would (get to to do)."


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