Rare Brain Eating Amoeba Kills Toddler

(ReliableNews.org) – According to the CDC, Naegleria is a single-celled living organism that lives in warm fresh water and soil. One species that falls under the Naegleria umbrella, called Naegleria fowleri, can infect people — and is typically fatal. The amoeba enters a person’s body through the nose and travels to the brain, destroying the organ’s tissue. Sadly, a little boy recently contracted the organism while swimming in Ash Springs, Nevada.

On July 19, 2-year-old Woodrow Bundy died from a Naegleria fowleri infection. According to a friend’s social media post, the little boy’s parents noticed he had flu-like symptoms that seemed to worsen, so they rushed him to the hospital. Doctors initially thought the toddler had contracted meningitis, but discovered the problem was actually the brain-eating amoeba. Although the family held out hope and doctors did what they could, Woodrow lost his life.

The CDC reported that infections are rare; there were only 29 cases reported in the US from 2013 to 2022. Most victims are young males under the age of 14, but the reason for that is unclear. Symptoms typically appear between 1 and 12 days after exposure, and the victim usually dies shortly after that. The agency reported that only 4 out of 157 of those with known infections have survived over a 60-year period.

Dr. Bobbi Pritt from the Mayo Clinic previously told Newsweek that the survivors beat the infection because of aggressive and early treatments that simultaneously killed the amoeba and “reduce[d] brain swelling.” However, once the damage is done, there is really nothing doctors can do for the patient to stave off death. According to the doctor, the victims die when the organism eats the part of the brain that controls the body’s “vital functions.”

Woodrow’s mother, Briana Bundy, said her son hung onto life for seven days before he “returned victoriously” to heaven.

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