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‘Extremely rare’ brain-eating amoeba infection suspected in Nebraska child’s death

A Nebraska child has died from the suspectedinfection of Naegleria fowleri, or brain-eating amoeba, local health officials said.

The kid was probably infected while swimming inElkhorn River near Omaha, in accordance with Nebraska’s Department of Health insurance and Human Services. If confirmed, the case will be the first known death frombrain-eating amoeba in the state’s history.

TheDouglas County Health Department saidWednesdaythat the kid died this weekand that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting further testing to verify the rare infection.

“We are able to only imagine the devastation this family should be feeling, and our deepest condolences are using them,” Douglas County Health DirectorDr. Lindsay Husesaid in a statement Wednesday. “We are able to honor the memory of the child by becoming educated concerning the risk and taking steps to avoid infection.”

Swimming in freshwater?Some tips about what to know concerning the rare brain-eating Naegleria fowleri.

Where are brain-eating amoebas found?

According toNebraska’s health department,Naegleria fowleri is really a kind of amoeba that may be found through the entire U.S., particularly Southernstates in warmfreshwater lakes, ponds and rivers.

“Infections typically occur later in the summertime, in warmer water with slower flow, in July, Augustand September. Cases tend to be more frequently identified in Southern states but recently have already been identified farther north,”Nebraska’s state epidemiologist, Dr. Matthew Donahue, said in a statement.

How dangerous are brain-eating amoebas?

When water containing the amoeba enters the nose and reaches the mind, primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a brain infection, can result.

Contamination of the brain-eating amoeba is “extremely rarebut often fatal,” hawaii agency says.Douglas County Health notes that 97% of cases result in death within about five days of symptoms appearing.

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How rare are brain-eating amoebas?

An incredible number of recreational water exposures occur every year, while only 0 to 8 Naegleria fowleri infections are identified every year,” Donahue said in the statement.

There were 154 known PAM infections due to Naegleria fowleri in the U.S. between 1962 and 2021, according toCDC.Only four of the infected survived.

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Do you know the symptoms ofNaegleria fowleri?

Naegleria fowleri infection symptoms can begin with fever, nausea and headaches, based on the CDC. Thatmay progress to stiff neck, seizures, hallucinations and coma.

How to prevent brain-eating amoebas

The easiest method to avoid aNaegleria fowleri infection would be to avoid swimming along with other activities in warm freshwater, the CDC says. If going underwater, plug your nose or avoid ducking your mind in to the water altogether.

Infections won’t occur in pools which have been properly cleaned and disinfected. Naegleria fowleri also doesn’t spread from individual to individual or by drinking contaminated water the infection occurs only once water containing amoeba enters the nose, Nebraska’s health department andDouglas County Health note.

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