November 28, 2022

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Brain-eating parasite infects swimmer after swimming in the United States

Authorities assert it was a case of Naegleria fowleri, a protozoan that causes life-threatening infections. It happened in Iowa

Swimming becomes risky in America. On Friday, July 8, it was announced that an American bather had been infected with the brain-eating amoeba, a microorganism that causes a devastating disease: primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, which can cause death within weeks. The man fell ill yesterday after swimming in Three Fires Lake in Taylor County, Iowa. The human disease is caused by Naegleria fowleri, a single-celled microscopic amoeba that can cause a rare and fatal brain infection called primary amoebic meningitis (PAM). For this reason, the beach of Lake of Three Fires State Park, in Iowa in the United States, where the presence of microorganisms was detected, was temporarily closed to swimmers. An amoeba infection can occur when the water in Naegleria fowleri enters the body through the nose and travels to the brain, where it destroys brain tissue. However, MAP is not contagious and is extremely rare. The Department of Health said that since 1962, only 154 known cases have been identified in the United States. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Naegleria fowleri typically lives in fresh water of varying temperatures, generally in warm heat sources, ponds, rivers, and hot water drains from industrial facilities or power plants and swimming pools. They are sprayed with plenty of water, and, rarely, even in cool lakes like Three Fires State Park. Symptoms begin with a severe headache, fever, nausea, and vomiting before progressing to seizures, hallucinations, and coma. It takes about five days for primary amoebic meningoencephalitis to appear, and the disease progresses very quickly, usually leading to death between 1 and 18 days after symptoms start. Background – In September 2020, a six-year-old boy died after being hospitalized with a brain-eating amoeba in Lake Jackson, Texas. It is believed that he was injured after playing a Splashpad in the city. A seven-year-old boy died in August 2021 after developing PAM after swimming in a Northern California lake. The following month, a child from Arlington, Texas, died after contracting an amoeba in a spray pad. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “Although they are rare, WFP is devastating and usually fatal.” They concluded, “Of the well-documented cases, there are only five known survivors in North America.” To reduce the risk of infection, the Department of Health advises swimmers to limit the amount of water drawn through the nose, use nose clips, or even keep their heads out while swimming and avoid entering the water when temperatures are extremely high. When the water containing the infectious forms accidentally gets into the nasal cavities, in fact, these forms can penetrate into the olfactory mucosa after an appropriate temperature gradient and rise along the olfactory nerve fibers to the brain through the olfactory bulbs. From that moment on, Naegleria fowleri, thanks to the optimum conditions of temperature and nutrients, reproduces very effectively and quickly, feeding on nervous brain tissue that is digested by directly secreting enzymes. Necrotic-hemorrhagic lesions of this disease make it fatal in more than 90% of cases. Then there are also the symptoms: fever, nausea, vomiting, headache and hallucinations that can then lead to coma and death. So far, Giovanni D’Agata, president of the Rights Office, stresses that there is no standard treatment protocol, although some drugs appear to have a good effect and are still being tested. However, remember that PAM is a rare disease caused by even the rarest of protists. In Italy, the only case that has ever occurred dates back to 2004 and involves a 9-year-old boy.

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Law Office press release