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Boy dies of rare brain-eating parasite Naegleria fowleri after visit to Lake Mead, officials say


A boy has died after being exposed to a rare brain-eating parasite in Lake Mead, the popular recreation area near Las Vegas, health officials have said.

The brain-eating amoeba, known technically as Naegleria fowlerienters the body through the nose and can cause inflammation, seizures, coma and usually death.

Health officials say it thrives in warm, freshwater environments.

It is believed to be the only case of the parasite associated with Lake Mead and only the second in Nevada history, according to state and local health officials.

California has had 10 reports of parasitic infection since 1962, according to the CDC.

The boy, who lived in the Las Vegas area and whose exact age was not specified, reportedly visited the Arizona side of Lake Mead in early October. He began developing symptoms about a week later, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

The district says, “The amoeba is naturally occurring, and there is no routine testing for Naegleria fowleri. Previous water tests have shown that it is regularly found in freshwater bodies and although the risk is low, recreational water users should always assume that a risk exists when they enter warm fresh water.”

Although the infection is often fatal, there are a few rare treatments available.

“With a parasite, you can’t kill it with antibiotics, you can’t kill it with antivirals, and we don’t have a vaccine for that, so we have to use rare antiparasitic drugs,” the doctor said. family Dr. Daliah Wachs. .

Officials say there is no danger of the amoeba entering Las Vegas drinking water supplies.

Water safety tips here.

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