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The boy died from the rare brain-eating parasite Naegleria fowleri after visiting Lake Mead, officials say

A boy has died at Lake Mead, the popular resort area near Las Vegas, after being exposed to a rare brain-eating parasite, health officials say.

The brain-eating amoeba, technically known as Naegleria fowleri, enters the body through the nose and can cause inflammation, seizures, coma, and usually death.

Health officials say it thrives in warm, freshwater environments.

It is believed to be the only case of the parasite linked to Lake Mead and only the second in Nevada history, according to state and local health officials.

California has received 10 reports of the parasitic infection since 1962, according to CDC.

The boy, whose exact age was not given, reportedly visited the Arizona side of Lake Mead in early October and developed symptoms about a week later, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

The district says: “The amoeba is naturally occurring and there is no routine test for Naegleria fowleri. Previous water testing has shown that it is regularly found in bodies of fresh water and while the risk is low, recreational water users should always assume that there is a risk when entering warm fresh water.”

Although infection is often fatal, there are some rare treatments.

“You can’t kill a parasite with antibiotics, you can’t kill it with antivirals, and we don’t have a vaccine for that, so we have to use rare antiparasitic drugs,” said family doctor Dr. Daliah Wax.

Officials say there is no risk of the amoebas entering Las Vegas’ drinking water supply.

Water safety tips here.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.

https://abc7.com/brain-eating-parasite-amoeba-naegleria-fowleri-lake-mead/12353996/ The boy died from the rare brain-eating parasite Naegleria fowleri after visiting Lake Mead, officials say

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