The brain-eating warning that is saturating the headlines today has people taking notice. While this brain-eating disease is rare, the warning comes after two highly publicized cases hit the news this summer. According to Fox2Now News on Aug. 16. This disease that results in a brain-eating amoeba attacking the brain, has only one point of entry into the body and that is the nose. It is vitally important to take precautions with any water going up through the nose, whether it be from swimming or using a neti pot to drain your sinuses.
The deadly amoeba, which is called Naegleria flowleri, lives in warm and shallow fresh water. If you were to drink this water, you would not be in danger, but if the water that carries the amoeba enters your nose, then you may contract this brain-eating disease, warns the Florida Health Department.
This disease is rare, with only 32 cases reported from 2001 to 2010 in the United States. Still, once contracting the disease your chances of surviving this are very slim. Right now in the U.S. two children are battling this disease today, both children are 12-years-old and from separate areas of the U.S. The CDC has released an experimental drug to be used on Kali Hardig, who contracted the brain-eating amoeba a few weeks ago. She was the first of the two children to fall ill to this disease. She contracted this from a water park which was constructed around a fresh water lake.
The second child, Zachary Reyna is fighting for his life in Miami Children's Hospital, he contracted this amoeba while knee-boarding in a water filled ditch near his home. The CDC has released the experimental drug for Zachary after it showed much promise in Kali's case. Kali is only the third person to survive this disease in the last 50 years. While not out of the woods yet, Kali has a fighting chance.
Swimming in the hot summer months in warm fresh water is usually the source when someone contracts the brain-eating amoeba, but it doesn't always originate from swimming. In 2011 two people contracted the brain eating amoeba from neti pots, the instrument used for draining and cleaning out your sinuses. According to CBS News archives, these two people from Louisiana, a 28-year-old man and a 54 year-old woman, both died from the brain-eating disease and neither had gone swimming.
When tests were done on their homes, the bacteria was found in a tankless water heater in the man's home and the amoeba was detected in the bathroom sink and tub's faucet of the woman's home. Both had used neti pots and the water they filled it with came right out of the tap. That is why it is of utmost importance to boil the water first, used distilled or sterilized water in your neti pots.
Symptoms: First symptoms may include headache, fever, nausea, excessive sleeping or vomiting, followed by stiff neck, confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance, seizures and hallucinations.
Death: In 99 percent of cases people die and this happens within five days. Only one person out of the 123 infected individuals in the U.S. from 1962 to 2011 has ever survived, according to the CDC.
The Florida Health Department has issued a warning and along with the warning they have offered some tips to help you avoid this brain-eating disease.
Here are some tips to help lower your risks of infection from the CDC:
• Avoid swimming in freshwater when the water temperature is high and the water level is low.
• Hold your nose shut or use nose clips.
• Avoid stirring up the sediment while wading in shallow, warm freshwater areas.
• If you are irrigating, flushing or rinsing your sinuses (for example, by using a neti pot), use water that has been distilled or sterilized.