A teenage girl has been hospitalised after swimming in a river, where an amoeba is believed to have infected her brain.16-year-old Courtney Nash, is in critical condition in a Florida hospital, after being struck down by the very rare infection.There are typically fewer than five cases a year in the entire country.
The dip in the St; John's River near her home in Mims last week left the high school student with what doctors believe is amoebic encephalitis, a dangerous and rare parasite that thrives in warm water, enters through the nose and quickly attacks the brain.Barry Inman, an epidemiologist with the Brevard County Health Department, told CBS Tampa that the rare infection, known as amoebic meningoencephalitis, has not yet been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control, but officials believe a positive test will be returned soon.Dr Inman said: 'We got a result from the hospital in Orlando and they did a spinal tap on her, and they looked on the cerebral spinal fluid and they saw the amoeba. So we’re confident that this is a hospital that has some experience with this organism, and we’re confident about what the diagnosis is.'Inman said: 'We have like one or two maybe a year. Sometimes we go a few years without having any cases in the United States, so it’s rare when it occurs, but when it occurs it’s not good.'
'The water, because of jumping or swimming or whatever may occur, has to go up the nose into the nasal passages, into the sinuses, and into the brain.
'In the brain you’ve got a lot of cerebral spinal fluid, you’ve got glucose, you’ve got protein, it’s just the perfect environment to proliferate and grow.' Amoebic meningoencephalitis occurs often during very hot weather and is contracted in stagnant freshwater.The microscopic amoeba (mostly Naegleria fowleri species) are commonly found in the upper layer of sediment in the bottom of lakes and ponds with mud floors. They can also be found in poorly maintained pools and hot tubs. When water temperatures hit 80 degrees, the amoeba come out to freely circulate in the water.
The infection is usually treated with anti-fungal medications and antibiotics. Only one person is believed to have survived the infection since the 1970s.The amoebas usually enter the body through the nose and attack the brain and spinal cord.
The disease progresses rapidly, usually resulting in death, doctors saidDeadly water: The St. John's River near Mims, Brevard County, where the high school student swam last week
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Florida’s last confirmed case came in 2009.
Symptoms of an infection include headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance and bodily control, seizures and hallucinations. The public is urged to contact a medical professional immediately if experiencing any of these symptoms.
Officials urge swimmers to avoid swimming in bodies of freshwater. Those who do should wear nose plugs or hold their nose when they jump or dive in.The Naegleria fowleri does not pose a threat to swimmers in local springs, well-maintained pools and the ocean, according to the CDC. It can't be transmitted from person to person, either.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2025625/Teenage-girl-critical-contracting-deadly-brain-infection-amoeba-swimming-local-river.html#ixzz1V5uSYmw3
In: Regional News
Tags: Teenage, girl, critical, deadly, brain, infection, Amoeba, river
Location: Tampa, Florida, United States (load item map)
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