Health

Boy dies from brain-eating amoeba possibly contracted at Lake Mead

A Nevada boy has died from a uncommon and infrequently deadly brain an infection that officers say he might have contracted whereas swimming within the japanese a part of Lake Mead earlier this month, well being officers mentioned Wednesday.

The boy, whose identification has not been launched, visited the Arizona part of the reservoir at the start of October, according to the Southern Nevada Health District. The boy started to develop signs of an unusual sickness brought on brought on by Naegleria fowleri, an organism generally often known as a “brain-eating” amoeba as a result of it assaults and destroys brain tissue, about one week after visiting Lake Mead, officers mentioned.

An investigation performed by the well being district in coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Naegleria fowleri because the boy’s reason behind demise, the well being district mentioned. The amoeba happens naturally in freshwater, particularly in hotter our bodies with low elevation, and has been discovered earlier than in Lake Mead, based on the National Park Service

Whether or not this year’s historic drop in water levels at the reservoir — which sits alongside the border of Nevada and Arizona and has change into more and more empty due to drought and local weather change — might improve the danger of publicity to Naegleria fowleri for guests is unclear. CBS News contacted the National Park Service for added feedback however didn’t obtain an instantaneous response.

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According to the Las Vegas Valley Water District, the water stage of Lake Mead has dropped roughly 170 ft since January 2000.

CBS News


Although particulars in regards to the Nevada boy’s demise haven’t been made public, the Southern Nevada Health District famous Wednesday that publicity to Naegleria fowleri causes a illness referred to as main amebic meningoencephalitis, a meningitis-like an infection that targets the brain and is sort of at all times deadly. For unknown causes, the an infection often happens in boys younger than 14, based on the CDC. 

Symptoms embrace headache, fever, nausea and vomiting earlier than worsening to stiff neck, seizures, hallucinations and coma. They sometimes start about 5 days after publicity to the organism, however can stay dormant for so long as 12 days in some circumstances, based on the CDC. The illness often progresses shortly and causes demise inside 5 days.

“My condolences go out to the family of this young man,” mentioned Dr. Fermin Leguen, the district well being officer for Southern Nevada, in a press release. “While I want to reassure the public that this type of infection is an extremely rare occurrence, I know this brings no comfort to his family and friends at this time.”

The CDC recorded 154 confirmed circumstances of an infection by Naegleria fowleri within the U.S. between 1962 and 2021, and at least 31 of them have been recorded during the last 10 years. Nearly all of these circumstances have been deadly, based on the well being company, with simply 4 identified survivors of the illness. In the previous decade, 28 infections occurred after publicity to leisure water, whereas three have been linked to contaminated faucet water. Because the illness is uncommon and evolves quickly, “effective treatments have been challenging to identify,” the CDC says.

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Brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri protozoans in trophozoite type.

Getty Images


The boy’s demise in Nevada comes after at least two different circumstances reported in 2022. In July, a Missouri resident was hospitalized with a Naegleria fowleri an infection after swimming in Lake of Three Fires State Park in southeastern Iowa. About one month later, a baby died from a suspected an infection with the organism after swimming in Nebraska’s Elkhorn River. The incident was the primary of its form for the state, well being officers mentioned at the time, as Naegleria fowleri is extra typically present in freshwater our bodies in southern U.S. states.

Health officers say that individuals can shield themselves from publicity by lowering alternatives for freshwater to enter the nostril, notably throughout the summer season. Naegleria fowleri infections solely happen after the organism has entered the physique this fashion, and don’t develop if water is swallowed. 

To decrease the danger of publicity, the CDC recommends that individuals keep away from leaping or diving into our bodies of heat recent water, particularly throughout the summer season; maintain their noses shut, use nostril clips, or maintain their heads above water whereas swimming in these areas; keep away from submerging their heads in sizzling springs and different our bodies of water which are untreated; and chorus from tampering with sediment in freshwater that’s shallow and heat.

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