Naegleria Fowleri: The Brain-Eating Amoeba

MrRING

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http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/brain-eating-amoeba-claims-second-victim-month-161107259.html
‘Brain-eating amoeba’ claims second victim this month

By Zachary Roth


A parasite known as the "brain-eating amoeba" has claimed its second young American victim this month.

Christian Strickland, a 9-year-old from Henrico County in Virginia contracted an infection after visiting a fishing camp in his state. He died of meningitis on August 5.

This week, health department officials confirmed that the deadly amoeba--officially known as "Naegleria fowleri"--was to blame.

"Sadly, we have had a Naegleria infection in Virginia this summer," Dr. Keri Hall of the Virginia Department of Health, told The Richmond Times-Dispatch. "It's important that people be aware of . . . safe swimming messages."

Earlier this month, Courtney Nash succumbed to the brain-eating amoeba after diving off a dock into the St. John's River at her grandmother's house in Florida.

According to her mother Patricia Nash, Courtney decided before her death to become an organ donor. "I didn't get my miracle, but she has performed other miracles," Patricia told local station WESH. "If we can save other people's lives so they don't have to go through what I just went though, this could be a blessing in disguise."

Usually found in warm, stagnant water in freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers, the parasite "enters the nasal passages ... and migrates to the olfactory nerves, eventually invading the brain," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It almost always causes meningitis. Symptoms include fever, nausea, stiff neck and a frontal headache.

Thirty-two infections of the parasite were reported in the U.S. between 2001 and 2010, CDC spokeswoman Christine Pearson told The Lookout, adding that infections are almost always deadly. That included two children in Phoenix who are thought to have contracted it through the domestic water supply in 2002.
 

MrRING

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Death toll up to three now:

http://news.yahoo.com/3-die-rare-brain-infection-amoeba-water-001505888.html
3 die of rare brain infection from amoeba in water
APBy MIKE STOBBE - AP Medical Writer | AP – 18 hrs ago


ATLANTA (AP) — Two children and a young man have died this summer from a brain-eating amoeba that lives in water, health officials say.

This month, the rare infection killed a 16-year-old Florida girl, who fell ill after swimming, and a 9-year-old Virginia boy, who died a week after he went to a fishing day camp. The boy had been dunked the first day of camp, his mother told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Those cases are consistent with past cases, which are usually kids — often boys — who get exposed to the bug while swimming or doing water sports in warm ponds or lakes.

The third case, in Louisiana, was more unusual. It was a young man whose death in June was traced to the tap water he used in a device called a neti pot. It's a small teapot-shaped container used to rinse out the nose and sinuses with salt water to relieve allergies, colds and sinus trouble.

Health officials later found the amoeba in the home's water system. The problem was confined to the house; it wasn't found in city water samples, said Dr. Raoult Ratard, Louisiana's state epidemiologist.

The young man, who was only identified as in his 20s and from southeast Louisiana, had not been swimming nor been in contact with surface water, Ratard added.

He said only sterile, distilled, or boiled water should be used in neti pots.

The illness is extremely rare. About 120 U.S. cases — almost all of them deaths — have been reported since the amoeba was identified in the early 1960s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About three deaths are reported each year, on average. Last year, there were four.

There are no signs that cases are increasing, said Jonathan Yoder, who coordinates surveillance of waterborne diseases for the CDC.

The amoeba — Naegleria fowleri (nuh-GLEER-ee-uh FOWL-er-eye) — gets up the nose, burrows up into the skull and destroys brain tissue. It's found in warm lakes and rivers during the hot summer months, mostly in the South.

It's a medical mystery why some people who swim in amoeba-containing water get the fatal nervous system condition while many others don't, experts say.

But the cases that do occur tend to be tragic, and there's only been one report of successful treatment.

"It's very difficult to treat. Most people die from it," Ratard said.

__

AP writer Stephanie Nano in New York contributed to this report.

___

Online:

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria
 

Yithian

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This gives me the fear.

There's a low risk of infection, but 97% infected die--most within 5%

Texas water resort closed, tested for 'brain-eating amoeba' after man's death
By Michael Nedelman, CNN

Updated at 2031 GMT (0431 HKT) October 3, 2018

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
    • Test results are pending from water samples taken at BSR Surf Resort in Waco, Texas
    • This is the only reported case of this infection in 2018, CDC says
(CNN) — After a 29-year-old man died from an infection with what's commonly known as brain-eating amoeba, health officials are investigating the Texas surf resort he visited.

CNN affiliate KVTV identified the man as Fabrizio Stabile of New Jersey, who visited a surf resort at Waco's BSR Cable Park before developing symptoms in September.

"There have been no reports of other illnesses, and Naegleria fowleri infection does not spread from person to person," Brittany Behm, spokeswoman at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in an email.

"CDC is testing water samples for Naegleria fowleri and will be working with the local and state health departments on recommendations to provide the facility on how to reduce potential exposures," she added.

The amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, can be found in warm bodies of fresh water such as lakes and hot springs. It infects people by entering the nose and making its way to the brain. There, it can cause a brain infection that the CDC calls "rare and devastating," known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis. It is almost always fatal, though a handful of people have survived.

Continued (including the victim's progression of symptoms):
https://edition-m.cnn.com/2018/10/03/health/brain-eating-amoeba-texas/index.html?r=https://edition.cnn.com/
 

James_H

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That's why they closed the bath at Bath.


I can't source this because I just read it on reddit, but apparently these are very common – they'll be in every shower you take, for example. However only a very small percentage of people actually get infected by them.
 

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Isn't this what closed down one of Disney's island resorts permanently?
 

EnolaGaia

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This may be the first brain-eating amoeba fatality of the 2019 summer season. Note the statistical comment - 145 known infections in the USA from 1962 through 2018.

Brain-eating amoeba kills person who swam in NC manmade lake

North Carolina health officials say a person has died from a rare brain-eating amoeba after swimming in a manmade lake at a water park.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources said in a news release Wednesday that the infection was caused by the amoeba naturally present in warm freshwater during the summer. The unnamed person became sick after swimming in Fantasy Lake Water Park in Cumberland County on July 12.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed it was caused by Naegleria fowleri, a single-celled organism known as the brain-eating amoeba. It can be fatal if forced up the nose. Symptoms start with a severe headache and can progress to coma.

Health officials say the amoeba is known to have infected just 145 people in the U.S. from 1962 through 2018.

SOURCE: https://www.apnews.com/f8210150a28445b9a1749e6956166f56
 

EnolaGaia

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Regarding the statistics on mortality when infected ... This 2016 CNN story about an earlier incident notes that the victim's successful recovery was only the fourth known recovery among US cases.
Rare recovery: Florida teen survives brain-eating amoeba

Sebastian DeLeon, 16, has survived a rare brain-eating amoeba, doctors at Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando said Tuesday.

"He's done tremendously well. He's walking, he's speaking, he went outside for the first time to get some fresh air -- he's ready to go home," Dr. Humberto Antonio Liriano, a critical care physician, told reporters.

It's remarkable because he is only the fourth person in the United States to survive an infection from this parasite, called Naegleria fowleri. ...

FULL STORY: https://www.cnn.com/2016/08/23/health/brain-eating-amoeba-florida-teen-survives/index.html
 

Bad Bungle

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I believe a brain-eating plasmodium featured in an episode of House a few years back - source was a contaminated sprinkler system for the patient's cannabis plants. Patient died, infected member of House's Team survived (both had been put into chemically induced coma to combat the pain.
 

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Here's the story of a death in California dating back to last October (but publicly reported today), plus mention of a new case in Texas.

Boy Dies from 'Brain-Eating' Amoeba Infection Picked Up in Hot Spring

The rare infection has a 97% fatality rate.

A boy in California died from a rare "brain-eating" amoeba infection after swimming in a hot spring, according to a new report.

In October 2018, the boy swam in a natural freshwater pool in an area known as Hot Ditch, a popular recreational spot in the Eastern Sierra region of California supplied by warm spring water and frequently visited by local residents and tourists alike. Twelve days later, the symptoms set in. After two days of being racked by fever, headaches and vomiting, the boy was brought to an intensive care unit in Southern California, where he experienced respiratory failure.

A CT scan revealed swelling in the brain; when doctors sampled cerebrospinal fluid through the patient's lower spine, they discovered microorganisms known as Naegleria fowleri. The case was described today (Sept. 13) in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which is published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ...

The California boy died after three days of treatment in the hospital. The unfortunate incident marks the ninth case of PAM in the state since the first reported in 1971, and stands as the third case in a patient exposed to spring water, specifically, according to the MMWR. The infection is rare, but occurs most frequently in southern states and in young males exposed to warm waters during the summer. Today (Sept. 13), another case was reported in Texas where a girl named Lily Mae contracted the infection after swimming in the Brazos River, according to KWTX. ...
SOURCE: https://www.livescience.com/boy-dies-brain-eating-infection-hot-spring.html
 

EnolaGaia

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The following general facts were included within the September 13 article posted above, but in a manner which affect the overall article's coherence / readability.
N. fowleri, a single-celled organism found in warm freshwater bodies, can enter the brain only via the nose, according to the CDC. The amoeba cannot be contracted by swallowing contaminated water. Once inside the brain, the amoeba multiplies by feeding on brain tissue, causing an often-fatal condition known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). As nervous tissue is destroyed, the organ swells dangerously. Of the 145 known individuals who contracted N. fowleri in the U.S. between 1962 and 2018, just four survived the infection, wrote the CDC. ...

The CDC notes that testing a body of water for N. fowleri can take weeks, and that no faster test is available. People who swim in warm fresh water should take note of the low risk, but can protect themselves by preventing water from going up their nose. The risk rises slightly in times when water levels drop and water temperature spikes, according to a 2019 statement by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's more on the Texas girl's story (mentioned two posts ago) ...
10-year-old Texas girl contracts brain-eating amoeba while swimming

A weekend swim left a young girl fighting for her life when she contracted a brain-eating amoeba with a 97% fatality rate.

The 10-year-old girl swam in the Brazos River and Lake Whitney in Bosque County near Waco over Labor Day weekend ...

Then, on September 8, the girl "began having a headache, and it was quickly followed by a fever" ... Her family thought it was a viral infection at first, but after visits to the family doctor and the girl having trouble sleeping, the family knew something was wrong.

"She was incoherent, unresponsive and was quickly swept up and taken to the ER" ...

The girl was then flown to Cook Children's Health Care System in Fort Worth where a spinal tap found she had contracted Naegleria fowleri. ...

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the amoeba is a single-cell living organism commonly found in warm freshwater like lakes and rivers. The amoeba enters the body through the nose, travels to the brain and destroys brain tissue, according to the CDC.

Between 2009 and 2018, the CDC says only 34 cases of the Naegleria fowleri infection were reported in the US. Only four people out of the 145 known cases survived between 1962 and 2018.
SOURCE: https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/14/us/texas-brain-eating-amoeba-girl-trnd/index.html
 

EnolaGaia

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As far as I know this is the first reported American case of the brain-eating amoeba in 2020 ...
A rare case of brain-destroying amoeba has been confirmed in Florida

... The Florida Department of Health on Friday announced the confirmed case of Naegleria fowleri -- a microscopic single-celled amoeba that can infect and destroy the brain. It's usually fatal, the DOH said.
Since 1962, there have only been 37 reported cases of the amoeba in Florida. This one was found in Hillsborough County, though the DOH did not give any further details. ...

In the US, there have been 143 known infected cases of the amoeba, according to the Florida DOH. Only four have survived.

SOURCE: https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/04/us/naegleria-fowleri-case-florida-trnd/index.html
 

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A rare case of brain-destroying amoeba has been confirmed in Florida

Homo floridanus: not the most promising hosts, I should have said.

(Somebody check my grammar)
 

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It just shows how alarmingly close your brain is to your nasal passages.

Every common cold is a risk of brain damage.
 

EnolaGaia

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As far as I know this is the first reported American case of the brain-eating amoeba in 2020 ...

The Florida victim of the July 2020 infection cited above apparently died, according to this story describing the latest infection and death of a boy in Florida.
13-year-old dies of rare 'brain-eating' amoeba after swimming in Florida lake

The case marks the second death from the devastating infection in Florida this summer.

A teen has died from a rare "brain-eating" amoeba infection after a family vacation in Florida, according to news reports.

The 13-year-old, Tanner Wall, and his family had recently stayed at a campground in North Florida, which has a water park and lake where the boy went swimming, according to local news outlet News4Jax. Several days after swimming in the lake, Tanner developed symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, headaches and a stiff neck, News4Jax reported.

Tanner was initially diagnosed with strep throat, but his parents suspected Tanner could have a more serious condition, and so they drove him to UF Health in Gainesville, Florida, for a second opinion.

There, the teen was placed on a ventilator, and doctors made a devastating discovery. ...

"They said, 'We're sorry to tell you this, but your son … has a parasitic amoeba, and there is no cure,'" Tanner's father, Travis Wall, told News4Jax. Tanner died from an infection with Naegleria fowleri on Aug. 2, News4Jax reported. ...

Tanner's death is the second reported in Florida this summer from the same infection. The first death was announced by the Florida Department of Health on July 3, although few details were released about the case. ...

FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/teen-dies-florida-brain-eating-amoeba.html
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's a near-nightmare scenario - being officially advised the brain-eating amoeba may be in your municipal water supply ... :nails:
Water in a Houston suburb could be tainted with a brain-eating microbe

Residents of a Houston suburb have been warned that city tap water could be tainted with a brain-eating microbe.

The initial advisory issued Friday by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality warned residents of all communities in the Brazosport Water Authority -- which includes several towns in the Houston metro area -- against using tap water for anything but flushing the toilet. ...

On Saturday afternoon the BWA published an update saying the Do Not Use Water Advisory had been listed for all of its communities except for Lake Jackson, a community that had 27,220 people in 2019, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Water in the area may have been contaminated with naegleria fowleri, a free-living microscopic amoeba, or single-celled living organism commonly found in warm freshwater and soil.

When water contaminated with the amoeba enters the body through the nose, it can travel to the brain and cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis, which is generally lethal.

The amoeba can be managed using standard treatment and disinfection processes, according to the BWA. ...

SOURCE: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/202...ed-with-a-brain-eating-microbe/7261601153057/

Edit to Add:

Apparently there's a typo in the news story above (from AP). According to CNN a line above should read:

On Saturday afternoon the BWA published an update saying the Do Not Use Water Advisory had been lifted for all of its communities except for Lake Jackson ...

https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/26/us/brain-eating-amoeba-found-in-texas-water-supply-trnd/index.html
 
Last edited:

EnolaGaia

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Update on the Houston area story ... The testing that discovered amoeba infestation in the water supply was prompted by the death of a 6-year-old boy earlier this month.
Texas declares disaster after boy killed by brain-eating amoeba

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared Brazoria County, near Houston, as a disaster zone due to the emergence of a brain-eating amoeba in the water supply for Lake Jackson.

Abbott issued the declaration Sunday after a 6-year-old boy died this month and was found to have Naegleria fowleri, also known as "brain-eating amoeba." It is a bacteria-eating microorganism that can cause a deadly brain infection called naegleriasis. ...

The boy's death prompted tests of the water supply, as he was believed to have contracted the amoeba at a local splash pad or watering hose near his home. Officials closed the splash pad earlier this month and the city started testing the water.

The boy's mother said he started complaining of a headache on Sept. 3 and developed a fever the following day. He died on Sept. 8.

FULL STORY: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/202...-killed-by-brain-eating-amoeba/6491601314196/
 

EnolaGaia

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Another update on the Texas water supply infestation ... It's going to take a long time and lots of money / effort to deal with even a single community's water supply amoeba infestation.
Disinfecting the Texas water supply from a brain-eating amoeba could take months, officials say

exas officials said that it could take months to disinfect the brain-eating amoeba contaminated water that claimed the life of a 6-year-old boy.

Gov. Greg Abbott held a news conference Tuesday to address what he called "the total tragedy" of the death of Josiah McIntyre, who CNN previously reported died from single-celled brain eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri found in the Lake Jackson water supply earlier this month. ...

Toby Baker, executive director of Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, said employees of his department have been "working 24 hours a day to try and remedy the problem that is going on with the drinking water situation."

However, he said that the path forward would "not be short."

"We have to get through the boil water first, which could take two to three weeks, after that we have to get chlorine levels to a state that can burn the entire system, scour the system, and kill the amoebas," Baker said. "That could take up to an additional 60 days." ...

SOURCE: https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/30/us/brain-eating-amoeba-texas-water-supply-trnd/index.html
 

EnolaGaia

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Newly published survey research indicates Naegleria fowleri's range has been expanding northward in the USA over the last 2 decades. This is suspected to be due in part to warming climatic conditions.
Deadly 'brain-eating amoeba' has expanded its range northward

The organisms' expanded range may be due to increased temperatures from climate change.

Deadly "brain-eating amoeba" infections have historically occurred in the Southern United States. But cases have been appearing farther north in recent years, likely because of climate change, a new study finds.

The study researchers, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), examined cases of this brain-eating amoeba, known as Naegleria fowleri, over a four-decade period in the U.S. They found that, although the number of cases that occur each year has remained about the same, the geographic range of these cases has been shifting northward, with more cases popping up in Midwestern states than before. ...

Because N. fowleri thrives in warm waters, up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius), it's possible that warming global temperatures may affect the organisms' geographic range, the authors said.

In the new study, published Wednesday (Dec. 16) in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, the researchers analyzed U.S. cases of N. fowleri linked to recreational water exposure — such as swimming in lakes, ponds, rivers or reservoirs — from 1978 to 2018. They identified a total of 85 cases of N. fowleri that met their criteria for the study (i.e. cases that were tied to recreational water exposure and included location data.) ...

What's more, when the team used a model to examine trends in the maximum latitude of cases per year, they found that the maximum latitude had shifted about 8.2 miles (13.3 kilometers) northward per year during the study period.

Finally, the researchers analyzed weather data from around the date each case occurred, and found that on average, daily temperatures in the two weeks leading up to each case were higher than the historical average for each location. ...

FULL STORY:
https://www.livescience.com/brain-eating-amoeba-expanded-range-northern-united-states.html

PUBLISHED RESEARCH REPORT:
https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/27/1/20-2119_article
 

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What interests me here is the dramatic reference to a "brain eating amoeba/microbe". As an attention grabbing headline, it somehow conjures images of a zombie apocalypse.

Look behind the headlines, though, and we have "an infection you may catch through contaminated water" — of which there are many. If you're killed by a bug that gets into your gut, or your liver, you're just as dead as if it had got into your brain — but the brain bug is somehow more scary.

Statistics for this are open to debate because although we know the comparatively small number of infections and deaths recorded, we do not have equally accurate figures for the number of people swimming in open fresh water.

145 infections between 1962 and 2018 in the USA, or 37 since 1962 in Florida, are virtually negligible figures compared to any cancer you care to name, or malaria worldwide, or deaths through air pollution in any city, or road deaths, homicides, etc.

One fairly direct comparison: 24 killings by alligators in Florida since 1973 (source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) although, unlike amoebae, alligators can come out of the water to get you.

However, without knowing how many people go swimming — and how often — in the relevant sort of water, we do not know the scale of the risk inherent in the activity.


There is a comparison here in the UK: Weils Disease, or Leptospirosis. I have spent some time reading up on this disease because I am a moderately regular wild swimmer in rivers and lakes, as well as a dinghy sailor. The "wild swimming community" (what we used to call "people who go swimming") gets quite excited by Weil's Disease.

My reading showed tiny numbers of Weil's Disease infections. There are around 50 infections per year recorded in the UK. However, as many cases are asymptomatic or indistinguishable from a nasty cold or flu, there may be many more that are neither diagnosed not recorded. Not bad enough to diagnose is, in my book, not bad enough to worry about — unless a disease is infectious or contagious, which Weil's isn't.

The fatality rate overall (for diagnosed cases) is around 5% — 10%. Importantly, most people who get infected get it through working with sewage, or on infected land (farmers) or with animals carrying the bacteria.

There are huge numbers of people wild swimming, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, windsurfing, sailing, and so on who spend part of their time immersed in lakes or rivers, and there are only a handful who are diagnosed with Weil's disease. The risk of infection or death from Weil's disease is almost negligible as a percentage, yet the fear that it causes is substantial with every relevant organisation (e.g. British Canoeing) feeling obliged to issue stern advice.

There is a terrible irony in the message being sent out that may discourage people from activities that are good for their physical and mental health, over such a small risk, when so many people are dying of preventable causes elsewhere — in the UK, around 76 road deaths per day, 90 stabbing deaths in London alone in 2019. (I am carefully avoiding mentioning US preventable death figures to avoid politics, so please don't go there.)
 

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My reading showed tiny numbers of Weil's Disease infections. There are around 50 infections per year recorded in the UK. However, as many cases are asymptomatic or indistinguishable from a nasty cold or flu, there may be many more that are neither diagnosed not recorded. Not bad enough to diagnose is, in my book, not bad enough to worry about — unless a disease is infectious or contagious, which Weil's isn't.

During her first year at University, my sister was unwell with something nondescript for a while. Her doctor originally suggested Weil's disease because she had been handling environmental water samples. When she was eventually told she had been infected with Legionella, she was quite relieved.
 

EnolaGaia

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... Look behind the headlines, though, and we have "an infection you may catch through contaminated water" — of which there are many. If you're killed by a bug that gets into your gut, or your liver, you're just as dead as if it had got into your brain — but the brain bug is somehow more scary. ...

The difference that actually makes a difference lies in the fact that a Naegleria fowleri infestation is untreatable once it's established, and its documented mortality rate is at least 97%.
 

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Naegleria fowleri claims the life of a 7-year-old boy in California.
Boy dies from brain-eating amoeba in California

A child infected with an extremely rare brain-eating amoeba while swimming in a Northern California lake died in a hospital, his family confirmed Friday.

David Pruitt, 7, of Tehama County, died from primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM, on Aug. 7 ...

The boy was rushed to the emergency room on July 30 and then flown to UC Davis Medical Center where he was on life support with severe brain swelling ...

The infection is extremely rare, and there have only been 10 cases reported in California since 1971, the Tehama County Health Services Agency said in an Aug. 4 news release. It said the boy was likely infected in a lake in Tehama County but didn’t identify the boy or say where he got infected. ...

The parasite, called Naegleria fowleri, usually infects people when contaminated water enters their body through the nose ...
SOURCE: https://apnews.com/article/lifestyle-health-california-e1458c332a82e7615753bb534825e116
 
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