4-Year-Old Dies from Brain-Eating Amoeba Infection
In the St. Bernard Parish Southwest of New Orleans, a four-year-old boy has died after contracting the brain eating amoeba known formally as the Naegleria fowleri amoeba. Health officials believe the youngster contract the amoeba while playing on a plastic toy water slide at his residence. Water found on the water slide tested positive for the deadly amoeba.
In a “better safe than sorry” mode, St. Bernard Parrish has increased the level of chlorine in the local water supply and taken other measures to prevent the spread of the amoeba. Local official stress that this is a precautionary measure and that no contamination of the local water supply has occurred. They also notified residents that for the time being, the water will both smell and taste different due to the increased chlorine, but that the water is drinkable.
People who fall ill to the brain-eating amoeba almost always die due to the aggressive symptoms the amoeba causes to the host and death is painful. Currently, there is no means of killing the amoeba once it is inside the host. However, one twelve year old girl in Arkansas survived the amoeba after being administered a drug designed to treat breast cancer. She was only the third person in recent years to survive the amoeba.
This infection is one of the most severe infections that we know of,” Dr. Dirk Haselow of the Arkansas Department of Health told CNN affiliate WMC-TV about Kali’s case. “Ninety-nine percent of people who get it die.”
Late last month, 12-year-old Zachary Reyna died from the same brain-eating amoeba after becoming infected with the disease while kneeboarding with friends in a water-filled ditch by his house.
Sufferers frequently experience few initial symptoms, lowering the prognosis rate for those affected. Kali’s condition was diagnosed relatively early when she was brought into the emergency room with a fever shortly after her trip to the water park. Zachary remains in the hospital continuing to battle against the deadly disease.
For those planning on swimming in fresh waters during the hot summer months, it is recommended to use a nose plug and keep one’s head above water.
According to ABC News, there have been nearly 130 cases reported in the United States since 1962. Before Kali, there was only one known U.S. survivor, plus another nonfatal case documented in Mexico.
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4-year-old dies after brain-eating amoeba infection