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Las Vegas Teen Dies From a Brain-eating Amoeba, However, Specialists Advise Calm
In light of the recent death of a Las Vegas area teenager from a rare brain-eating amoeba, experts have advised that individuals who frequent freshwater lakes, rivers, and springs exercise caution rather than panic.
“It captures people’s attention because of the term,” Brian Labus, a former public health epidemiologist, said on Friday of the naturally occurring organism formally known as Naegleria fowleri but nearly universally nicknamed the brain-eating amoeba. However, this ailment is quite uncommon.
The investigation team has concluded that the teenager was exposed while swimming in the warm waters of Lake Mead. While the health department in southern Nevada did not release the name of the deceased youngster, they did say he may have been exposed to the tiny organism on the weekend of September 30 in the Kingman Wash area, which is in Arizona and is on the Colorado River reservoir behind Hoover Dam. Due to the CDC’s confirmation of the reason, the district made the matter public on Wednesday. Read more: Virginia Mother Arrested, Police Said a 4-year-old Ate THC Candy and Died
Prof. Labus of the UNLV School of Public Health said that the CDC has recorded just 154 cases of illness and death from the amoeba in the United States since 1962. The states of Texas and Florida accounted for nearly half of the incidents. Before last week, there had been no other reports of them in Nevada.
Despite what some may think, Labus does not believe that this calls for immediate action. If you’re going to be in an area where this unusual amoeba is found, you should take precautions. He added the creature lives in seas between 25 and 46 degrees Celsius (77 and 77F) in temperature.
Since the amoeba can only infect humans by entering the nasal cavity and traveling to the brain, the district and the Lake Mead national recreation area, which manages the lake and the Colorado River, have made this point clear. This condition nearly often results in death.
According to statements made in separate press releases by the two organizations, “it cannot infect individuals if consumed and is not passed from person to person.” Both stressed the need of keeping one’s head above water when swimming in hot springs or other “untreated geothermal waters” that pool in pocket canyons across the huge leisure area, and warned against jumping or diving into warm water, especially in the summer. Read more: Game Postponed by San Jose State After Running Back’s Death, the Whole of the Coverage Given
“It’s 97% lethal but 99% avoidable,” said Dennis Kyle, head of the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases at the University of Georgia. To avoid injury, “you may safeguard yourself by not diving into water that goes up your nose” or by using protective nasal plugs.
Primary amebic meningoencephalitis is an infection of the brain caused by the amoeba; early symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, or vomiting but can develop into a stiff neck, convulsions, coma, and ultimately death.
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 1-12 days after exposure, and death often occurs within 5 days. Almost usually by the time a diagnosis is made, it is too late, according to Kyle, and there is no known effective therapy.
Cases were reported in northern California, Nebraska, and Iowa based on a news article review. The majority of reported instances during the past 60 years have occurred in the southern states of the United States, with 39 reported in Texas and 37 reported in Florida alone, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In regards to the number of instances, “I guess this year is sort of typical,” Kyle remarked. In contrast, the summer of 2016 was exceptionally hot. Warmer temperatures have been shown to increase environmental amoeba populations. Read more: Carly Simon Loses Both Sisters to Cancer, Lucy Simon and Joanna Simon One-day-apart Deaths
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