Brain Eating Amoeba Strikes in Louisiana
A “brain-eating amoeba” has claimed another victim in Louisiana. The latest victim is a 4-year-old child in St. Bernard Parish near New Orleans.
Louisiana’s Department of Health & Hospitals says the Centers for Disease Control has confirmed that a child contracted the infection while visiting a home in St. Bernard Parish in southeast New Orleans. It is called Naegleria fowleri and lives in warm, fresh waters like lakes or streams that are up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s why the rare infection is most commonly reported in the south. You can get infected if the contaminated water enters your nose and then travels to the brain. It can lead to an infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) that is almost always deadly. There have been 128 infections between 1962 and 2012, with only one documented case of survival.
The deceased child was a 4-year-old from Mississippi who visited St. Bernard parish and likely contracted the amoeba when engaging in a popular summer pastime: a Slip ‘N Slide. Doctors believe it was contracted because the Slip ‘N Slide had been out in the mud and the water for over a 12 period, in very hot conditions. Inspectors found the parasite in the water tank of the toilet, inside the house. The amoeba was never found in St. Bernard’s water supply. 3 people have died in Louisiana since 2011 from the amebic infection.
Twelve-year-old Kali Hardig of Arkansas was a rare survivor of the infection. She contracted the amoeba in late July, but reports this week claim she was able to swim in a hospital pool. She had gotten the infection from a now-shuttered Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock. An experimental German drug helped aid in her recovery, according to the CDC.