Brain-eating amoeba attacks South Carolina resident

Brain-eating amoeba attacks South Carolina resident

A brain-eating amoeba infection, called Naegleria fowleri, is believed to take life of 95% of infected people. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the infection in a South Carolina resident, who is now being treated for the infection.

According to the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, the CDC has confirmed the infection after lab tests. Naegleria fowleri is found naturally in warm fresh water, such as soil, lakes, rivers and hot springs. It can cause serious brain infection with symptoms like severe headaches, changes in mental status, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck and death.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said that according to health officials, the South Carolina resident contracted the infection on July 24 when the person was swimming in the Edisto River near Martins Landing in western Charleston County. The patient is receiving treatment at the Medical University of South Carolina hospital in Charleston. Federal privacy restrictions did not disclose additional information about the patient.

The drug given to the patient is developed by an Orlando, Florida pharmaceutical company. The drug, miltefosine, is priced at $48,000 for a round of treatment. It was previously used to treat a 12-year-old girl in Arkansas in 2013.

“Even if I had specifics of the cases, which I do not, I think it would be difficult to draw conclusions because there have been so few infections”, said Dr. Bell. She said the drug is not available widely yet due to lack of knowledge to determine common factors between cases. The CDC reported 37 infections between 2006 and 2015. Only three persons have survived the infection since 1962, it added.