Florida v. reportedly infected with ‘brain-eating amoeba’ after bathing

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A Florida boy is said to have been hospitalized after being infected with a brain-eating amoeba, also known as Naegleria fowleri, a potentially deadly parasite that attacks brain tissue – after he swam at the local beach.

Caleb Siegelbauer, 13, visited Port Charlotte Beach Park with his family in early July, according to a GoFundMe recently launched by his aunts Kathy Chiet and Elizabeth Siegelbauer.

Five days after his visit, Caleb reported headache and a day later he had a fever, the report said.

He was reportedly taken to the Golisano Children’s Hospital in southwest Florida at Ft. Myers on Saturday, July 9th.

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The Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County told Fox News Digital that there were no confirmed positive cases of the amoeba Naegleria fowleri as of July 26 in Charlotte County, where Caleb was reported to have swum.

Naegleria fowleri (commonly called "brain-eating amoeba" or "brain-eating amoeba"), is a free-living microscopic amoeba* (single-celled living organism).  It can cause a rare** and devastating brain infection called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).

Naegleria fowleri (commonly referred to as “brain-eating amoeba” or “brain-eating amoeba”) is a free-living microscopic amoeba* (single-celled living organism). It can cause a rare** and devastating brain infection called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC))

Chiet and Siegelbaur wrote that Caleb was initially diagnosed with meningitis, which bears a resemblance to amoeba Naegleria fowleri – but doctors later discovered that he had contracted a “brain-eating” amoeba, the report claims.

Caleb was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit of the hospital. his aunts.

Fox News Digital has reached out to the media at Lee Health, the healthcare system that operates the Golisano Children’s Hospital in southwest Florida, for comment.

The hospital declined to comment due to HIPAA.

Caleb began treatment according to the protocol established Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the amoeba Naegleria fowleri on Sunday, July 10, which included sedation and intubation, Caleb’s aunts shared on the GoFundMe page.

“[He] “He has been breathing on his own for almost a week now,” Chiet and Siegelbaur wrote on GoFundMe. “His MRI from 07/20 still shows damage to his brain, but we still hope he will turn the corner soon and make it back to us.”

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Caleb’s parents and siblings are said to be “safe” and do not appear to have contracted the parasite.

By Sunday, July 24, Caleb reportedly received a chest x-ray and a blood dose, according to a GoFundMe status update. Looks like he’s still under guardianship.

According to the CDC, there are no rapid tests for the amoeba Naegleria fowleri.  Amoeba can enter the body through the nose and infect brain tissue.

According to the CDC, there are no rapid tests for the amoeba Naegleria fowleri. Amoeba can enter the body through the nose and infect brain tissue.
(iStock)

Fox News Digital has reached out to Chiet and Siegelbaur for comment.

According to the CDC, Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba that is commonly found in warm fresh water and soil.

People usually get it after swimming or diving into the water. lakes, rivers and hot springs. According to the CDC. Improperly chlorinated pools can also be a cause, though not as often.

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The amoeba thrives in high temperatures (up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit) and enters the body through the nose when a person’s head is submerged in water.

Because Naegleria fowleri feeds on other organisms such as bacteria, the amoeba can attack brain tissue if not detected in time.

“Initial symptoms or [Naegleria fowleri] start about 5 days (range 1 to 12 days) after exposure,” the CDC says. symptoms may include headache, fever, nausea or vomiting. Later symptoms may include neck stiffness, confusion, lack of attention to people and the environment, loss of balance, seizures, and hallucinations.”

Headaches are a common symptom of the amoeba Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating parasite.

Headaches are a common symptom of the amoeba Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating parasite.
(iStock)

The CDC continued, “Once symptoms appear, the disease progresses rapidly and usually results in death within about 5 days (range 1 to 18 days).”

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The health agency notes that “Naegleria fowleri is common, infections are rare,” but recreational water users should assume it is present in warm fresh water throughout the country.

Of the 154 documented cases of Naegleria fowleri in the US, the amoeba has a mortality rate of over 97%, according to the CDC.

Chiet and Siegelbaur wrote that the family remains hopeful that Caleb can fight infection. They launched GoFundMe to “take the burden off” of his parents who stay by his bedside.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Charlotte County for comment on the presence of Naegleria fowleri in the waters of Port Charlotte Beach Park.

Amoeba Naegleria fowleri is often found in hot bodies or water.

Amoeba Naegleria fowleri is often found in hot bodies or water.
(iStock)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people can limit their chances of contracting Naegleria fowleri by avoiding warm fresh water. swimming over water if this cannot be avoided, wear a nose clip or cover your nose while swimming.

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People should also avoid digging or churning sediment in bodies of water.