Arkansas child contracts deadly brain infection

July 29, 2013 at 5:35 PM
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark., July 29 (UPI) -- An Arkansas child has contracted a rare brain infection caused by an amoeba that entered the body while swimming in a water park, health officials said.

The child, whose name, age and gender has not been released, was likely swimming in a sandy bottom lake at Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock, Ark., when the amoeba entered through the nasal cavity, doctors said.

The resulting diagnosis of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis comes as a result of ingesting the amoeba Naegleria fowleri, ABC News reported Monday.

The amoeba, though generally innocuous, thrives is warm shallow standing freshwater. It is only responsible for 128 infections since 1962 but when contracted it is almost always fatal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states. In only one of the 128 documented cases did the patient survive.

Early symptoms include an intense frontal headache, fever and vomiting. Those symptoms quickly give way to hallucinations and seizures and the amoeba usually kills the infected patient in about five days.

Willow Springs Water Park has closed and the owners said they will not reopen until the sandy bottom lake is replaced with a hard surface.

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