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Child dies from suspected case of brain-eating amoeba

Finding Higher Ground
Posted at 9:01 AM, Aug 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-18 12:11:06-04

A child died after being infected with Naegleria fowleri, which is commonly referred to as a brain-eating amoeba.

Health officials in Nebraska believe the child became infected after swimming in the Elkhorn River.

Tests are being conducted to confirm the cause of death. If they show the child died from the brain-eating amoeba, it would be Nebraska's first known death from Naegleria fowleri in the state's history.

"Infections typically occur later in the summer, in warmer water with slower flow, in July, August, and September. Cases are more frequently identified in southern states but more recently have been identified farther north," said Nebraska State Epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Donahue. "Limiting the opportunities for freshwater to get into the nose are the best ways to reduce the risk of infection."

This type of infection is rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been just over 31 infections reported in the U.S. since 2012. Most of the people got the infection from recreational water areas, but two reported cases were linked to performing nasal irrigation using contaminated tap water.