By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
In a follow-up on a report from earlier this month, the 15-year-old teen who contracted the parasite, Naegleria fowleri, from the thermal springs of Guayabo de Bagaces has died from the infection Monday, according to a Tico Times report.
The case was first reported by the Ministry of Health on January 7.
This is the second known case of primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) in Costa Rica. In 2014, an 11-year-old boy from Florida contracted the amoeba while vacationing in the country. He later died after returning home.
Naegleria fowleri is a microscopic amoeba which is a single-celled living organism. It can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The amoeba is commonly found in warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers, ponds and canals. Infections can happen when contaminated water enters the body through the nose. Once the amoeba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM (which destroys brain tissue) and is usually fatal. Infections usually occur when it is hot for prolonged periods of time, which results in higher water temperatures and lower water levels.
Naegleria fowleri infections are rare. Most infections occur from exposure to contaminated recreational water. Cases due to the use of neti pots and the practice of ablution have been documented. You cannot be infected with Naegleria fowleri by drinking contaminated water and the amoeba is not found in salt water.
Initial symptoms of PAM usually start within 1 to 7 days after infection. The initial symptoms may include headache, fever, nausea, or vomiting. Other symptoms can include stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, seizures, and hallucinations. After the start of symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly.
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