A 13-year-old boy is in the hospital battling a terminal illness after being infected by a brain-eating amoeba while swimming in Florida.
Caleb Siedelbauer contracted naegleria fowleri while swimming on Port Charlotte Beach on July 1, according to his family.
Five days later, the teenager complained of a headache, followed by fever and confusion. New York Post reports.
He was rushed to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with meningitis and placed in intensive care. GoFundMe page.
Doctors later confirmed that an amoeba was the cause of his illness.
“Often people don’t get to the hospital fast enough. We hope so,” said Caleb’s aunt, Cathy Chiet. NBC2.
“He’s just the kindest soul, but he’s so strong. He is so strong. Like wrestling outside, that’s what we do,” another aunt, Elizabeth Siegelbauer, told NBC.
“He fights with his little heart inside.”
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Ms Chiet said Caleb had symptoms for several days before the family realized it could be the water he swam in.
“He started receiving the CDC amoeba protocol on July 10,” Ms. Chiet wrote in a GoFundMe post.
“He needed a short period of sedation and intubation, but he has been breathing on his own for almost a full week,” she said.
She added that an MRI showed some damage to his brain.
“But we still hope that he will soon turn the corner and return to us.”
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) negleria fowleri It is a rare disease that is almost always fatal: only four out of 154 people in the US survived the infection between 1962 and 2021.
It causes a rare and almost always fatal brain infection called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.
Humans can become infected when water containing amoeba enters the nose and migrates to the brain.
Symptoms usually appear one to nine days after exposure, and many people die within 18 days of symptom onset. CDC.
Earlier this month, a freshwater beach in Iowa was closed when a Missouri woman swimming there became infected with an amoeba. The woman later died from the infection.
This article originally appeared in New York Post and reproduced with permission
Originally published as ‘Fighting with his little heart’: 13-year-old boy fights deadly brain-eating amoeba