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Entries in Parasite (4)

Sunday
Sep112011

Brain-Eating Amoeba Claims Fourth Victim

File photo. MEHAU KULYK/Getty Images(WINFIELD, Kan.) -- A Kansas resident died last week from what was likely a rare infection by a brain-eating amoeba, after swimming in a lake in August, state health officials said.  It is the fourth death this summer linked to the parasite, which is found in stagnant warm water.

The person, who hasn't been named, likely picked up the infection while swimming in Winfield City Lake in Cowley County, ABC News affiliate KAKE-TV in Wichita reported.

The Sedgwick County resident entered the hospital on Aug. 19 with headaches and developed breathing problems, and died five days later, according to the Kansas City Star.

Notices have been posted at the Winfield lake office and the swimming area, Winfield City Manager Warren Porter told the Star.  Residents have been warned not to swim in bodies of water that have been heated by a nuclear power plant, or dig up sediment in such places, according to the newspaper.

The brain-eating amoeba, also known as the parasite Naegleria, enters through the nose, travels through the sinuses and infects the brain and cerebrospinal fluid.

Though this parasite is very rare, it tends to grow in stagnant, fresh water during high summer temperatures, Barry Inman, an epidemiologist at the Brevard County, Florida Health Department, told ABC News.

The Kansas victim is the first person to have died from a brain-eating amoeba infection in Kansas.  Earlier last month, two children in Virginia and Florida died from the deadly parasite.  Another death was reported in Louisiana.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug162011

Second Death this Month Caused by Deadly Parasite

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(RICHMOND, Va.) -- A second child died this month from a deadly parasite that grows in stagnant waters, health officials confirmed Tuesday.

Bonnie Strickland, the aunt of 9-year-old Christian Alexander Strickland, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that her nephew died Aug. 5 from amoebic meningoencephalitis, a deadly parasitic infection that attacks the brain and spine, after attending a fishing camp.

"The doctor described it to us as such a slight chance that they didn't even think it would be possible," Strickland told the newspaper.

"Sadly, we have had a Naegleria infection in Virginia this summer," Dr. Keri Hall, state epidemiologist at the Virginia Department of Health, said in a statement. "It's important that people be aware of...safe swimming messages."

A week after Christian's fishing camp, he began experiencing the telltale symptoms of the parasitic infection-turned-meningitis: headache, stiffness, fever and nausea.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also confirmed that a 16-year-old Floridan, Courtney Nash, died Saturday from the parasitic illness after swimming with her cousins in St. John's River. Within a week, she began experiencing the same symptoms, Barry Inman, an epidemiologist at the Brevard County Health Department, told ABC News.

The parasite, also known as the brain-eating amoeba, enters through the nose, travels through the sinuses and infects the brain and cerebrospinal fluid. Though this parasite is very rare, it tends to grow in stagnant, fresh water during high summer temperatures, Inman said.

"She was out swimming ... in the St. John's River, having fun like any other kids would in the water," Nash's uncle, Tom Uzel, said at a press conference Monday morning. Nash and her family had swum in that river all their lives.

"We have signs up in public freshwaters," said Inman. "All we can do is inform people that the organism is there. It's going to proliferate and grow, especially in the hot months. There are nose clips people can wear to reduce risk, but someone who doesn't want any risk needs to stay out of freshwater ponds and streams, especially those that are stagnant."

Inman said that anyone suffering from the symptoms of this parasitic infection -- fever, nausea, stiff neck and a frontal headache -- should seek medical attention.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug152011

Did Deadly Parasite Kill Florida Teen?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- A deadly brain parasite contracted during a swim in a local river is thought to be the culprit behind the sudden and tragic death of 16-year-old Florida teen Courtney Nash.

Nash had gone for a swim Aug. 3 with her cousins in St. Johns River and within a week began suffering from headache, stiffness, fever, and nausea -- all telltale signs of amoebic meningoencephalitis, a parasitic infection that attacks the brain and spine, Barry Inman, an epidemiologist with the Brevard County Health Department told ABC News.

The parasite enters through the nose and then travels through the sinuses and infects the brain and cerebrospinal fluid. Though this parasite is very rare, it tends to grow more in stagnant, fresh water during high summer temperatures, Inman said.

Nash was taken initially to a local hospital and then to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, but despite every attempt at treatment, she died Saturday afternoon.

Though doctors at Arnold Palmer identified the amoeba Naegleria fowleri in her system before her death, Florida health officials are still awaiting official confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control that this was in fact the cause of death, Inman said.

Nash's is only the third case of amoebic meningoencephalitis in Brevard County since 1985, Inman said. Nationwide, there are usually one to three cases each year of this rare and dangerous parasitic infection. Only one person has survived the infection since the 1970s, he added.

Though chances of contracting this parasite are about one in 10 million, said Inman, people in the area are aware that there is some risk in swimming in certain fresh water ponds, lakes, and rivers.

Inman said that anyone suffering from the symptoms of this parasitic infection -- fever, nausea, stiff neck, and a frontal headache -- should seek medical attention.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May202011

FDA Clears First Test to Detect Recent Toxoplasmosis Infection

Comstock/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it has approved the first test used to help identify whether a person recently contracted the parasitic infection toxoplasmosis.

The test, known as the VIDAS TOXO IgG Avidity Assay, can determine if a person got the infection within the four months prior to being examined.  It works by detecting how strongly antibodies bind to the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, Toxoplasma gondii.

People can become infected with the parasite after eating undercooked or contaminated meat, or if they come in contact with infected cat feces.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, toxoplasmosis is the leading cause of death associated with illnesses stemming from food.

Some of its common symptoms include swollen lymph nodes and flu-like symptoms.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio