Rare diseases caused by bacteria
Officials have not released the child’s name or age, saying that it would be in violation of federal law, but according to a message posted on the Facebook page called Prayers for Blake Driggers, the child passed away on Tuesday from the infection.
Facts about Naegleria fowleri
- An amoeba that lives predominately in warm, fresh water
- It's acquired when infected water is forcibly aspirated into the nose. This can occur through recreational swimming, diving, or during sports like water skiing
- Once acquired, the amoeba travels into the brain, causing primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM)
- PAM is very rare, and there are only a few cases reported each year in the U.S.
- People with PAM initially experience changes in smell or taste.
- The disease advances rapidly, causing fever, stiff neck, and coma
- Infection diagnosed by examining spinal fluid under microscope to ID the amoeba
- Naegleria fowleri may also be grown in the lab, although this takes several days. Newer tests are being developed
- The treatment of choice is an intravenous drug called amphotericin B. Amphotericin B may also be instilled directly into the brain
- More than 95 per cent of cases of PAM are fatal despite treatment
Family friends said Driggers began complaining of a fever and headaches after a trip to the beach last weekend.
Mark Christmas, who sings in the church choir with Blake's father, said initially he and others felt that the boy may have simply gotten too much sun.
'We thought maybe he just had a little too much fun at the beach, ' Christmas said.
'There was a time there for a little while that he actually felt all right.'
But by Sunday afternoon, Blake – whom Christmas described as an energetic boy who loved meeting new people and watching a television show about turtles – had become more lethargic, and his parents took him to the hospital.
By that evening, the family was told the boy's condition was serious.
'He had just become less responsive, ' Christmas said.
Blake died Tuesday. His aunt told a Columbia television station that an autopsy done the next day revealed his illness and death had been caused by the amoeba.
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