Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Tarrant County resident dies from amoeba infection
It is believed the boy contracted the infection in a lake outside of the Tarrant County area, but the amoeba is assumed to be present in "all" fresh bodies of water.
A recent death of an adolescent Tarrant County resident infected by Naegleria fowleri, an amoeba assumed to be present in all rivers, lakes, ponds, tanks, and streams has been reported to Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH). The adolescent male is believed to have contracted the infection in a lake outside of Tarrant County.
In advance of the upcoming Labor Day Weekend, Tarrant County is reminding swimmers and skiers to take precautions to avoid infection from Naegleria fowleri. The amoeba can cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM, an infection of the brain. Though PAM is rare, it is usually fatal.
The amoeba thrives in warm, stagnant water but may be present in any body of fresh water. Infection is believed to occur when water containing the amoeba is forced up the nose when diving or jumping into the water or when skiing. Symptoms of the infection may include severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting.
The amoeba does not live in salt water or in swimming pools and hot tubs that are properly cleaned, maintained, and treated with chlorine.
TCPH offers these precautions to reduce the already low risk of infection:
- Never swim in stagnant water.
- Hold your nose or use nose clips when skiing, jet skiing or jumping into any water.
Ten cases of PAM have been reported in Texas since 2000, including this most recent case.
Source: Tarrant County Public Health
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