A 7-year-old child who was infected with a rare Brain Eating Amoeba in Northern California has died. The family of David Pruitt of Tehama County confirmed to The Associated Press that the boy died on Aug. 7 from primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, which is caused by Naegleria fowleri or the Brain Eating Amoeba.
Pruitt contracted the amoeba after swimming in an unidentified California lake. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Naegleria fowleri typically infects people through the nose when they are submerged in warm freshwater. The symptoms are a severe frontal headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, seizures, hallucinations and coma.Pruitt had been hospitalized on July 30 before being flown by a medivac to the UC Davis Medical Center, where doctors placed him on life support due to severe brain swelling. While the infection is rare, it is generally fatal. Since 1978, there have been only five documented survivors in North America.
In 2019, a 10-year-old Texas girl died of PAM after she swam in the Brazos River and Lake Whitney near Waco. The amoeba was first spotted in the water supply near New Orleans, in Ascension Parish and St Bernard Parish in 2015. Chlorine levels in the water were blamed.