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Friday, August 16, 2013

Brain-Eating Amoebas- Three Deaths

Brain-eating amoebas blamed in three deaths

By Madison Park, CNN

Brain-eating amoebas blamed in three deaths

(CNN) -- It's eerie but it's true: Three people have died this summer after suffering rare infections from a waterborne amoeba that destroys the brain.
This is the time of year when there is an uptick in cases. The amoebas flourish in the heat -- especially during the summer months in the South, thriving in warm waters where people swim.

Health officials usually record about two to three cases in a given year -- 1980 was the highest with eight deaths. And most of the time, they occur in children and teenagers.

"These are rare infections, but super tragic for families," said Jonathan Yoder, the waterborne disease and outbreak surveillance coordinator at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We don't want to minimize how hard it is for families."

A 16-year-old died Saturday after becoming infected by an amoeba in Brevard County, Florida, according to CNN's affiliate WFTV. The amoeba could have entered the teen's body as the teen swam in a nearby river.
Her mother, P.J. Nash-Ryder, said her daughter complained of a headache, threw up 20 times and ran a fever as high as 104 degrees.

"She would sit up in bed and just look at me, and I would ask her what was wrong," Nash-Ryder said. "She would say, 'I don't know.' And I'd tell her to lay back down. Her eyes were rolling ... and she wouldn't shut them all the way."

A spinal tap showed that Naegleria fowleri was present in her spinal fluids.
In another case, the Virginia Department of Health confirmed Friday that a child from central Virginia died from primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, which is caused by the amoeba. The Richmond Times Dispatch said the child was a 9-year-old boy from Henrico County.

The child died within the last few weeks, said Dr. Keri Hall, the state's director of epidemiology. She declined to share other details. Virginia's last confirmed case was in 1969.

Amoeba infections in humans are extremely rare. The CDC found 32 reported cases in 10 years -- compared with 36,000 drowning deaths from 1996 to 2005.

Rare but deadly amoeba infection hard to prevent

The median age of the victims is 12, possibly because children and teenagers are more likely to play and swim in water. 

Nearly two-thirds of those killed by the amoeba are children under the age of 13.

The amoebas enter the human body through the nose after an individual swims or dives into warm fresh water, like ponds, lakes, rivers and even hot springs.

The primary treatment for Naegleria infection is amphotericin B, an antifungal medication injected into the veins and brain.

But so far, only one person -- back in 1978 -- is known to have survived an infection, Yoder said.

Everybody panics because the amoeba infection is so deadly, but Cabral reminded: "The incidence of this disease is very very small, but when it happens it's tragic."

'Brain-eating amoeba' kills third person
Nine-year-old Va. boy dies after swimming in water infected by bug

'Brain-eating amoeba' kills third person - TODAY Health -
A nine-year-old Virginia boy has died after swimming in water infected by a bug known as the "brain-eating amoeba," according to reports. It was the second such death this month.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Christian Alexander Strickland, 9, of Henrico County, became infected after he went to a fishing camp in the state.
The child died from meningitis Aug. 5 and Bonnie Strickland, his aunt, told the paper that Naegleria fowleri ? or "brain-eating amoeba" as it is sometimes known ? was a suspected cause of the illness.
"The doctor described it to us as such a slight chance that they didn't even think it would be possible," Bonnie Strickland told the Times-Dispatch.
Health department officials told the paper they do not comment on individual cases. However, they confirmed a case of meningitis and an infection by the bug.
"Sadly, we have had a Naegleria infection in Virginia this summer," Dr. Keri Hall, state epidemiologist at the Virginia Department of Health, in a statement, according to the Times-Dispatch. "It's important that people be aware of ? safe swimming messages."
Naegleria fowleri moves into the body through the nose and destroys brain tissue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bug causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a nearly always fatal disease of the central nervous system, the CDC reported.  
Here are the CDC's tips for prevention:

* Refrain from activities in warm, untreated or poorly treated water, especially when water levels are low and temperatures are high.
* Hold the nose shut or use nose clips when swimming in warm fresh water.

* Avoid digging or stirring up underwater sediments while submerged in shallow, warm freshwater areas. 

Shale basins, connections?

Contributing sources and references:

Brain-eating amoebas blamed in three deaths -

Brain-eating amoeba blamed for 3 deaths - Columbia Daily ...…in-eating-amoeba-blamed...
ATLANTA (AP) — Two children and a young man have died this summer from a brain-eatingamoeba that lives in water, health officials said. 

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