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US: Boy dies from rare brain-eating amoeba

October 24, 2022  14:59

The Southern Nevada Medical District, USA, has reported the death of a boy after contracting the brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri, which he probably contracted after swimming in a warm freshwater lake.

About a week after visiting Lake Mead in early October, the child developed a fever. Other early symptoms of the infection include severe forehead headaches, nausea and vomiting, and later symptoms include neck stiffness, seizures, altered mental status, hallucinations and coma.

Officials did not give a name or the exact age of the deceased, but said he was under the age of 18.

This is the first confirmed fatality caused by exposure to Naegleria Fowleri at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the report said.

The brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri lives in soil and warm fresh water, including lakes. If ingested, it can cause a rare disease that affects the brain and spinal cord - primary amebic meningoencephalitis, which is almost always fatal. Between 1962 and 2021, 154 U.S. residents contracted the amoeba, and only four survived.

Scientists speculate that the infection occurs through the nose, from where the amoeba enters the brain through the olfactory nerve. Symptoms of infection appear 1-12 days after infection, and death occurs 1-18 days after symptoms appear.

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