Brain Eating Amoeba Kills Teen

A very rare brain-eating amoeba has killed a teen in Ohio, local officials report.

CBS affiliate WBNS in Columbus reports a local school identified the teen as 18-year-old Lauren Seitz. Officials say she died after suffering from Meningoencephalitis.

Mitzi Kline with Franklin County Public Health told WBNS the teen died in Ohio, but was exposed to the amoeba at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C.

The amoeba lives in freshwater has an incubation period of 1 to 7 days, but it is not contagious.

Seitz was a member of the Westerville South High School band, which will be hosting a memorial and prayer vigil Tuesday night in the band room for members, WBNS reports.

Meningoencephalitis is caused be the brain eating amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri.

Only 133 cases of the infection have been reported over the past 53 years, according to the CDC, and only three people are known to have survived. However, the amoeba usually infects people who swim in warm freshwater lakes and rivers, or in poorly-maintained pools.

Naegleria fowleri infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose. The amoeba then travels up the nose to the brain where it causes the disease primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a brain infection that destroys brain tissue.

Symptoms of the disease start to occur roughly 5 days after infection and may include headache, fever, nausea, or vomiting. Once symptoms begin, the disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death within five days.

The CDC also suggests that people avoid digging or stirring up sediment while playing or working in warm waters. The CDC further suggests that people avoid thermally polluted water, such as the water near power plants,  

The best step to take when feeling any of the symptoms is to go straight to your doctor for a diagnosis, as early treatment could save your life.

Stay Healthy, Stay Wise, Stay Safe.
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