SHOCKER! California boy had brain! Dies of amoeba, a rare brain-eating parasite, after swimming in lake

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Aug 21, 2021, 6:05:02 AM8/21/21
RED BLUFF, Calif. — A child infected with an extremely rare
brain-eating amoeba while swimming in a Northern California lake
died in a hospital, his family confirmed Friday.

David Pruitt, 7, of Tehama County, died from primary amoebic
meningoencephalitis, or PAM, on Aug. 7, said his aunt, Crystal

The boy was rushed to the emergency room on July 30 and then
flown to UC Davis Medical Center where he was on life support
with severe brain swelling, Hayley said in a fundraising site
she created for the family to raise funds for his care and

The infection is extremely rare, and there have only been 10
cases reported in California since 1971, the Tehama County
Health Services Agency said in an Aug. 4 news release. It said
the boy was likely infected in a lake in Tehama County but
didn’t identify the boy or say where he got infected.

Tehama County public health officials did not return telephone
messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

His parents declined an interview request from The Associated
Press. But Hayley said “they want people to be aware of this
amoeba and the illness signs.”

The parasite, called Naegleria fowleri, usually infects people
when contaminated water enters their body through the nose,
according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Infection normally occurs when people go swimming or diving in
warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. In rare
instances, people can get infected if warm water from a swimming
pool that has not been adequately treated with chlorine enters
the nose, the CDC said on its page about the infection.

“Once the ameba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where
it causes PAM, which is usually fatal,” it said.

In the first stage of infection, patients report having a severe
headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. As the infection worsens,
they can develop a stiff neck and experience seizures or
hallucinations, according to the CDC.


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