Brain eating amoeba strikes at water park

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Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 10:36 am | Updated: 9:39 pm, Wed Dec 18, 2013.

A little girl playing in a water park in Arkansas contracted a rare but deadly form of meningitis caused by a brain eating bacteria.

Dr. Vilma Vega of Infectious Disease Associates explained. "It actually can invade the brain tissue and cause meningitis or an infection of the brain and then it can continue to destroy areas within the brain which is what leads to death."

These are some symptoms associated with the disease. "The infection of the brain causes headaches, fevers, chills perhaps even change in your taste or your smell after swimming in warm water." She said.

Now, the child is fighting for her life, which raises concerns on how to safely cool down in the water.

Dr. Vega suggests, "Try perhaps to avoid very hot water, usually this organism, this amoeba lives in the higher temperature water, forty five degrees Celsius and above." she adds that wearing nose clips may help prevent the amoeba entering through the nose and invading into the brain. Those with a compromised immune system may want to stay out of the water. but chances are slim that you will get the disease.

"When you actually look at statistics you're looking at one in two million cases that amoeba actually enters into the nasal cavity and causes an infection." She said.

Local mom Dorothy Redden said she isn't worried about bringing her kids to the water park. "I don't know, it seems like a great place to me," She said, "I haven't heard about any bacteria infections or anything."

Her four children all play in the water at the park frequently. "We come here a lot, for the past year, we've been here about five or times."

Dr Vega concurred, "This is such a rare disease that we would never tell people don't go swimming but obviously if there are concerns as well to monitor for symptoms."

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