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ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- Something in the lakes around Orlando, Florida, has claimed the lives of three boys this summer.
Will Sellars' family says he died after being exposed to a deadly amoeba on a Florida lake.
"This thing is just there. It's lurking like some deadly thing in the water which can take our children's lives and we all have to be aware," said Orange County Health Department Director Dr. Kevin Sherin.
The "thing" isn't a fish or alligator. It is so small it cannot be seen with the naked eye. The killer that lives in the hot, fresh water is a single cell amoeba that once exposed to the human brain through the nasal passages is almost always fatal.
At first people exposed to the amoeba, naegleria fowleri, suffer from flu-like symptoms. Very quickly, in from one to 14 days, the symptoms worsen, Sherin said. "There's a downhill course. Folks lapse into a coma; there are abnormal movements of the eyes and a terrible cascade of events leading to the actual death of parts of the brain."
ATLANTA - Federal health officials warned swimmers Thursday to take precautions in warmwater lakes and streams, mostly in the South, because of a dangerous amoeba blamed in at least eight deaths in the past two years.
All the victims, most recently a 12-year-old boy who died after swimming in a North Carolina lake in July, suffered swelling of the brain after inhaling the microscopic organism into their nasal passages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that swimmers in fresh waters of least 80 degrees hold their noses, wear nose clips or keep their heads out of the water..................
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Last year, two cases each were reported in Texas, Arizona and Florida, and one was reported in Georgia. In July, 12-year-old Sean Stayton died after swimming in Falls Lake north of Raleigh, N.C. Family members said symptoms began with headache and fatigue, and progressed to hallucinations and high-pitched screaming.
TULSA, Ok. - Two children died Friday after being infected with a rare parasite associated with swimming in stagnant water, health officials said.
The boys, ages 9 and 7, did not know each other but were both believed to have been swimming in area ponds before contracting Naegleria, an amoeba that enters the body through the nose and can cause a deadly inflammation of the brain.
Originally posted by anxietydisorder
Almost ever case seems to be fatal, and
what's the deal that it seems to kill mostly boys.
PHOENIX -- A 14-year-old Lake Havasu boy has become the sixth victim to die nationwide this year of a microscopic organism that attacks the body through the nasal cavity, quickly eating its way to the brain.
Aaron Evans died Sept. 17 of Naegleria fowleri, an organism doctors said he probably picked up a week before while swimming in the balmy shallows of Lake Havasu.
According to the Centers For Disease Control, Naegleria infected 23 people from 1995 to 2004. This year health officials said they've noticed a spike in cases, with six Naegleria-related cases so far -- all of them fatal. SOURCE
Once infected, most people have little chance of survival. Some drugs have been effective stopping the amoeba in lab experiments, but people who have been attacked rarely survive, Beach said.
"Usually, from initial exposure it's fatal within two weeks," Beach said.
Researchers still have much to learn about Naegleria, Beach said. For example, it seems that children are more likely to get infected, and boys are infected more often than girls. Experts don't know why.
"Boys tend to have more boisterous activities (in water), but we're not clear," he said. SOURCE