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California Boy Dies from Brain Eating Amoeba 

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.

It was not clear exactly when David had gone swimming, as symptoms of PAM typically begin one to nine days after. Death typically occurs between one and 18 days after symptoms begin. The CDC notes that PAM is difficult to detect due to the rapid progression of the illness. PAM is caused by Naegleria fowleri, also known as a Brain Eating Amoeba, which is found in warm freshwater and soil. This Brain Eating Amoeba finds way into the human body through the nose, and travels to the brain where it causes PAM.

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.

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