Kyle Gracin Lewis died at Cook Children’s Medical Center in the summer of 2010, from the Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM), the brain infection caused by the water-born amoeba, known as Naegleria fowleri.

Image/Cook Children’s Hospital

Now Cook Children’s is the first, and currently the only, hospital in the nation to house a life-saving investigational drug called miltefosine (trade name, Impavido) that could prevent other children in the state of Texas and surrounding states from meeting a similar fate.

Miltefosine is an oral drug encased in a blister pack. Until recently, miltefosine was only available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and had to be shipped to hospitals on a patient-by-patient basis. Having miltefosine on hand at Cook Children’s means patients will not have to wait for a shipment to arrive, increasing their odds of survival. It also means quicker access to the drug for hospitals across Texas and the region.

The drug, originally created to treat leishmaniasis (a rare tropical parasitic disease), was administered successfully to a 12-year old Arkansas child in 2013, who had been diagnosed with PAM.

After reading about that child, Jeremy and Julie Lewis’ foundation, Kyle Cares, contacted the drug manufacturer about making the drug more widely available across the nation. Five “source hospitals” have been chosen across the nation to have miltefosine readily available at their hospital. Cook Children’s is the first source hospital to have the drug onsite.

“It means so much to us that Cook Children’s has this drug today,” Jeremy Lewis said. “In the worst case for us, Kyle passing away, Cook Children’s could not have been better to us. I’m glad it will be the home for miltefosine in the state of Texas.”

Read more at Cook Children’s Hospital

LISTEN: Outbreak News Radio: Naegleria fowleri and amoeba awareness: Personal stories and the great work from ‘Kyle Cares’ and ‘Swim Above Water’