Sunday, September 25, 2022

Rare brain-eating amoeba suspected of killing child who swam in Nebraska river

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A child died after swimming in the Elkhorn River in northeastern Nebraska — and health officials there suspect the cause of death is due to a rare, brain-eating amoeba.Nebraska Health and Human Services says if it’s confirmed by test results, the death would be the first of its kind in the state.The warning alone is enough for some people to stay out of the water. UNMC infectious disease expert Dr. Mark Rupp says he understands why some people are scared, even though there are only a handful of known cases in the U.S. every year.”We have millions and millions of people who are enjoying recreation on freshwater lakes and streams and rivers. Many of those, if you go and you sample them, you will find this amoeba present,” Dr. Rupp said.The Hester family wrapped up a trip to the Elkhorn River this week. They’re taking the warning from health officials seriously. This will be their last visit for a while. “I’m a little disappointed, we were hoping to come back here again next week but I guess that’s not going to be in the plans this time,” Hester said.While contacting a brain-eating amoeba is rare, Dr. Rupp says it is nearly always fatal. “We think when people dive or jump into that kind of water, they get inoculation of water up the nose and then it gains access to the central nervous system and then the brain,” Dr. Rupp said.Health officials advise people to take precautions when around rivers, lakes or streams — keep your head above water or plug your nose. You should also avoid digging or stirring up the sediment at the bottom of the lake or river.

A child died after swimming in the Elkhorn River in northeastern Nebraska — and health officials there suspect the cause of death is due to a rare, brain-eating amoeba.

Nebraska Health and Human Services says if it’s confirmed by test results, the death would be the first of its kind in the state.

The warning alone is enough for some people to stay out of the water.

UNMC infectious disease expert Dr. Mark Rupp says he understands why some people are scared, even though there are only a handful of known cases in the U.S. every year.

“We have millions and millions of people who are enjoying recreation on freshwater lakes and streams and rivers. Many of those, if you go and you sample them, you will find this amoeba present,” Dr. Rupp said.

The Hester family wrapped up a trip to the Elkhorn River this week. They’re taking the warning from health officials seriously. This will be their last visit for a while.

“I’m a little disappointed, we were hoping to come back here again next week but I guess that’s not going to be in the plans this time,” Hester said.

While contacting a brain-eating amoeba is rare, Dr. Rupp says it is nearly always fatal.

“We think when people dive or jump into that kind of water, they get inoculation of water up the nose and then it gains access to the central nervous system and then the brain,” Dr. Rupp said.

Health officials advise people to take precautions when around rivers, lakes or streams — keep your head above water or plug your nose. You should also avoid digging or stirring up the sediment at the bottom of the lake or river.



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