Nevada Boy Dies: Rare Brain-Eating Amoeba Kills Boy Near Lake Mead

Nevada Boy Dies

The Southern Nevada Health District said on Wednesday that a little kid had died from a rare brain-eating amoeba he may have been exposed to at Lake Mead. According to a press release from Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the youngster may have come into contact with the Naegleria fowleri organism in the park’s Kingman Wash area, which is on the Arizona side of the lake near Hoover Dam.

The deceased person’s name and exact age were not disclosed by authorities, but they did say he was a minor. According to the park, “this is the first confirmed mortality caused by exposure to Naegleria Fowleri at Lake Mead National Recreation Area.”

Infections caused by microscopic amoeba are uncommon, yet the organism is widespread in warm freshwater. Between 2012 and 2021, the CDC only received 31 reports of Naegleria fowleri infections in the United States. Infections are relatively rare, yet they almost always have tragic consequences.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that someone can become infected if water carrying the amoeba enters their nose when swimming, diving, or putting their head underwater. It is not contagious and cannot be contracted by ingesting it.

A youngster in Nebraska acquired the disease after swimming in a river, and a man in Missouri contracted it after spending time at a beach; all three cases of Naegleria fowleri infection this year have proved fatal. According to the Southern Nevada Health District’s study, the youngster was probably exposed in early October and started showing symptoms approximately a week later.

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Dr. Fermin Leguen, the district health officer for Southern Nevada, expressed his sympathies to the family of the young man. This form of infection is incredibly unusual, and I want the public to know that, but I also know that this is of little solace to his loved ones right now.

The park’s press release confirms that recreational swimming in Lake Mead will continue to be permitted by the National Park Service. Dr. Maria Said, an official with the United States Public Health Service, issued a statement explaining that “the bacterium lives naturally and regularly in the environment but sickness is extremely rare,” as justification for the decision.

However, Said cautioned, “anytime recreational water users approach warm fresh water, they should always believe there is a risk.” People were warned to swim with their heads above water, avoid burying their heads in hot springs, and avoid jumping or diving into warm freshwater, all of which are CDC-recommended measures.

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