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Naegleria fowleri

Naegleria fowleri.

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  • A man has died after he contracted a “brain-eating” amoeba from swimming in a North Carolina water park, state officials have said.
  • WRAL has identified the man as Eddie Gray. At the time, he was visiting the park with his church group.
  • In a news release, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that Gray contracted an illness caused by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri after visiting the Fantasy Lake Water Park in Cumberland County on July 12.
  • The amoeba is found in freshwater and is more common in the summer.
  • The infection begins with headache, fever, nausea, and vomiting and can lead to a stiff neck, seizures, and coma.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

A man has died after he contracted a “brain-eating” amoeba from swimming in a North Carolina water park, state officials have said.

In a news release, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that the man contracted an illness caused by the brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri after visiting the Fantasy Lake Water Park in Cumberland County on July 12.

WRAL has identified the man as Eddie Gray, of Guilford County, NC. His attorney told the outlet that Gray was visiting the park with his church group and said his “death was tragic and untimely.”

According to the CDC, the amoeba is found in freshwater sources like rivers and lakes and under-chlorinated pools.

It does not cause harm if swallowed, but it can lead to fatal illness if it is “forced up the nose,” which can happen during water sports like diving or water-skiing, the NCDHHS release notes.

Symptoms of Naegleria fowleri are headache, fever, nausea, and vomiting, says the NCDHHS. It can lead to a stiff neck, seizures, and coma. According to the CDC, symptoms begin one to nine days after exposure.

Read more: ‘Hot tub rash’ can cause pus-filled blisters, and you can get it from pools and lakes too. Here are 9 other ways swimming can make you sick.

Local officials are working with the waterpark to take precautions surrounding the naturally-occurring amoeba after Gray’s death, the NCDHHS said.

“Our sympathies are with the family and loved ones,” said State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, M.D. in a statement. “People should be aware that this organism is present in warm freshwater lakes, rivers and hot springs across North Carolina, so be mindful as you swim or enjoy water sports.”

Naegleria fowleri is rare ,with 145 known cases in the US between 1962 and 2018, according to the NCDHHS. Five of those cases were found in North Carolina.

More:

Amoeba
North Carolina
Health


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