An Arkansas toddler has died A rare brain-eating amoeba The infection, which may have been contracted on a splash pad at a country club, according to health officials and the county coroner.
The victim died of Naegleria fowleri infection, which “destroys brain tissue, causes brain swelling and, in some cases, death,” according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Press release Thursday.
Nagleria fowleri An amoeba that lives in mud and warm freshwater lakes, rivers, ponds and hot springs. In rare cases, people have acquired Naegleria fowleri infections from recreational water that does not have adequate levels of chlorine, such as pools, splash pads or surf parks, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Naegleria fowleri infections are rare. Only about three people a year are affected in the United States, but the outcome is usually fatal. According to the CDC.
In the Arkansas case, a 16-month-old boy died Sept. 4 after spending a few days in the hospital, Pulaski County Coroner Gerone Hobbs told CNN on Friday.
The state health department conducted testing and found that the victim may have been exposed on a splash pad at the Country Club of Little Rock.
Several samples from the pool and splash pad were sent to the CDC for evaluation, the release said. The CDC found that one splash pad sample contained possible Naegleria fowleri and other samples are pending.
The Country Club of Little Rock voluntarily closed its pool and splash pad and officials say there is no danger to the public. CNN reached out to the country club, but has not heard back.
The Arkansas Department of Health has not confirmed additional information about the case, a spokeswoman said in an email to CNN on Friday.
The last case of Naegleria fowleri in Arkansas was in 2013, according to the state health department.
In 2021, a 3-year-old child died of a brain infection with Nagleria foleri. Spending time on the splash pad, according to the CDC. In that case, Texas public health officials found that the splash pad’s water was “recycled and not adequately disinfected.”
According to the CDC, this type of amoeba enters the body through the nose, usually when people swim, dive, or put their heads underwater in bodies of fresh water.
The amoeba travels to the brain and destroys brain tissue, causing an almost always fatal infection called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).
Naegleria fowleri infection is not spread from person to person.
Symptoms of PAM usually begin five days after infection, but according to the CDC, they can begin anywhere from one to 12 days.
Some symptoms include headache, fever, nausea or vomiting. The latter include confusion, neck stiffness, lack of attention to surroundings and people, seizures, delusions, and coma.
Once the disease begins, it progresses rapidly and usually results in death within five days.
The CDC says the best way to prevent infection when swimming in fresh water is to keep the water out of your nose. It also suggests avoiding stirring up the sediment on the bottom of fresh water, where amoebae can thrive.