Published: Sat, July 27, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Man dies from brain-eating amoeba after visiting Cumberland County water park

Man dies from brain-eating amoeba after visiting Cumberland County water park

A man from North Carolina has died after swimming in a manmade lake at a water park in North Carolina. North Carolina health officials believe that he contracted Naegleria fowleri, an amoeba naturally found in warm freshwater in the summer, at the man-made lake.

"Laboratory testing at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the individual's illness was caused by Naegleria fowleri, an amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater", the department said.

"Hold your nose shut, use nose clips or keep your head above water when taking part in warm freshwater-related activities", the Health Department said in the statement.

In rare instances, infection may occur when contaminated water from other sources such as tap water or inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water enters the nose, but health authorities said infection can not happen by drinking contaminated water. Other symptoms include nausea, loss of balance, hallucinations, sleepiness, seizures, and a stiff neck.

North Carolina epidemiologist Zack Moore offered sympathies to the victim's family while urging people to be aware of the amoeba. Gray died from an amoeba called naegleria fowleri.

However, it is not infectious when the water when swallowed.

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The Centers for Disease Control have only documented 145 brain-eating infections since 1962.

The majority of infections from amoeba have occurred in "15 southern-tier states, with more than half of all infections occurring in Texas and Florida", according to the CDC. It is a single-celled organism which enters the internal organs through the nose.

California woman Kelsey McClain, 24, passed away after a brain-eating amoeba left her brain dead after entering her nose while she was swimming in the Colorado River in 2016.

Avoid getting into warm freshwater during periods when it's hot and water levels are low. Notably, North Carolina had five cases during that time period. "You can not get infected from swallowing water contaminated with Naegleria".

But detecting the illness is notoriously hard, the CDC said, because it progresses so quickly, with signs beginning just days after contact.

While there is no way to eliminate the amoeba from freshwater lakes, health officials said they are working with the water park on how to educate the public about Naegleria fowleri.

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