A ten-year-old girl died of primary amoebic meningeal encephalitis. Rare, the disease is triggered by infection by Naegleria fowleri, known as a brain-eating amoeba.
- A ten-year-old girl has died after being infected by a brain-eating amoeba.
- Present in warm waters, it causes serious and fatal meningoencephalitis in the majority of cases.
- However, cases remain very rare.
A swim in a swimming pool probably caused the death of Stefanía Villamizar González. This ten-year-old Colombian girl died of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. This disease is caused by the brain-eating amoeba, an infectious organism, which can be present in warm fresh water. However, the little girl had bathed in a swimming pool during her vacation, a few weeks before her death.
Brain-eating amoeba: an infection contracted through the nose
Shortly after this swim, she began to experience various pains, vomit and have a fever. “Although her symptoms subsided when she returned home, two weeks later she had difficulty getting out of bed and began having seizures.tells him Daily Email. A week later she was dead.” For doctors, his death is linked to Naegleria fowleri, known as a brain-eating amoeba. According to her mother, the little girl contracted the infection through her nose while playing in the swimming pool. According to MSD manual“amoebae can enter the brain through the nose when people swim in contaminated warm fresh water”. These amoebae will then reach the brain and cause inflammation, then tissue destruction.
What are the symptoms of brain-eating amoeba infection?
Like Stefanía Villamizar González, infected people generally suffer from headaches, vomiting and nausea one to two weeks after being exposed to the infectious agent. For some, the first symptom is an alteration in taste or smell. “People become confused, drowsy and may convulseunderlines the MSD manual. The progression is rapid, leading to death within 10 days.
According to the Coves, infection leads to death in 95% of cases. “Over the past 50 years, 310 cases have been recorded worldwide, and only 11 people have survived.”, observes the organism. According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC), US health authorities, a 16-year-old boy survived the infection in 2016 thanks to a combination of treatments. He managed to fully recover from the illness.
Brain-eating amoeba: in which country is it present?
The French health agency emphasizes that no cases have been recorded following swimming in France. “ANSES considers that infection by this bacteria remains a rare event.she concludes. Thus, the risk to public health is low compared to that of other swimming-related infectious diseases.” But Naegleria fowleri is present all over the world. “In the United States, the majority of infections occur in southern states after exposure to warm fresh water in lakes and rivers in summer., specifies the MSD manual. The organism develops in poorly maintained heated swimming pools, industrial hot water sources or swimming pools in open water. “VSThis species can even grow in water heaters at temperatures up to 46°C and survive for short periods at higher temperaturesit is indicated. Naegleria does not live in salt water.”
As recalled by CDC, the risk of contamination remains low. “In the United States, 29 infections were reported between 2013 and 2022, despite hundreds of millions of exposures to swimming waters each yearindicates the organization. For comparison, during the years 2011 to 2020, there were approximately 4,012 unintentional drowning deaths each year in the United States..”