Braineating amoeba: Infection kills 10yearold girl in hotel pool Folha de Pernambuco


The girl had fever and convulsions until she was diagnosed with amoebic encephalitis

Per Oh Globo AgencyNovember 27, 2023 at 11:27 am

The child was initially treated for a suspected ear infection, but 15 days later his symptoms worsened reproductive

A 10yearold girl died after being diagnosed with amebic encephalitis, a rare infection of the central nervous system with a 95% chance of death. Stefanía Villamizar González’s family believes the girl was infected with the famous “braineating amoeba” during a trip to Colombia.

The girl developed an earache and fever and vomited two days later. She was treated for a suspected ear infection before returning home, where her symptoms subsided. But 15 days after the first symptoms, the girl could no longer stand up and started having cramps.

She was taken to hospital, where she remained under close medical care until her death three weeks later. After a weeklong investigation, experts said the cause of death was amoebic encephalitis.

The team believes the disease was caused by Naegleria fowleri, popularly known as the “braineating amoeba” and commonly found in poorly managed swimming pools or stagnant water.

“We are destroyed, devastated,” mother Tatiana González told The Sun. According to the matriarch, the girl contracted the infection through her nose while playing in the water in Santa Marta, Colombia, in June.

The manager of the hotel where Stefanía allegedly contracted the amoeba promised to strengthen safety standards. The girl was an avid tennis player, skater and dancer who dreamed of becoming a gymnast.

What is the braineating amoeba?
Naegleria fowleri lives in soil and in lakes, rivers, ponds and freshwater hot springs, but can also be found in swimming pools and diving areas that are not properly maintained, experts say.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it infects people when water containing the amoeba enters the body through the nose. It then feeds on brain tissue and causes severe neurological damage.

Symptoms usually begin about five days later with severe headaches, fever, nausea and vomiting. The disease often progresses, causing neck stiffness, seizures, altered mental status, hallucinations, and sometimes coma.

To avoid illness, health authorities recommend:

Keep your nose closed or use nose clips

Keep your head above water when participating in water activities in warm freshwater waters

Avoid waterrelated activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature

Avoid digging or stirring up sediment while participating in waterrelated activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas