A Sumter boy has died from a rare brain infection, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control has reported.
Few details of the case were released, but the infection from an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri (Neh-GLARE-ee-ah FOW-luhr-eye) amoeba generally occurs after exposure in warm freshwater lakes or rivers.
“We are saddened to learn that this child was exposed to the deadly organism Naegleria fowleri,” said Catherine Templeton, DHEC director. “While this organism is present in many warm water lakes, rivers and streams in the South, infection in humans is extremely rare. Naegleria fowleri almost always results in death.”
If after swimming in freshwater you experience headache, nausea, vomiting, high fever and neck stiffness, you should seek medical attention. However, Naegleria fowleri infection is extremely rare, with just 32 cases in the United States between 2001 and 2010.
Drinking contaminated water will not cause infection. The water must be forced up the nose and through the nasal passages in order for the amoeba to pass into the brain, said Dr. Kathleen Antonetti, DHEC medical epidemiologist.
For more information on Naegleria fowleri, click here.