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Lake Havasu teen becomes sixth 2007 victim of brain-eating amoeba (NOT a joke)
Examiner ^ | 27 SEPT 2007 | CHRIS KAHN

Posted on 09/27/2007 5:06:32 AM PDT by radar101

It seemed like a headache, nothing more. But when pain killers and a trip to the emergency room didn't fix Aaron Evans, the 14-year-old asked his dad if he was going to die.

"No, no," David Evans remembers saying. "We didn't know. And here I am: I come home and I'm burying him."

What was bothering Aaron was an amoeba, a microscopic organism called Naegleria fowleri that attacks the body through the nasal cavity, quickly eating its way to the brain. The doctors said he probably picked it up a week before while swimming in the balmy shallows of Lake Havasu.

Such attacks are extremely rare, though some health officials have put their communities on high alert, telling people to stay away from warm, standing water.

"This is definitely something we need to track," said Michael Beach, a specialist in recreational water-born illnesses for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better," Beach said. "In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases."

According to the CDC, Naegleria infected 23 people from 1995 to 2004. This year health officials say they've noticed a spike in cases, with six Naegleria-related cases so far - all of them fatal.

Though infections tend to be found in southern states, Naegleria has been found almost everywhere in lakes, hot springs, even some swimming pools. Still, the CDC knows of only several hundred cases worldwide since its discovery in Australia in the 1960s.

The amoeba typically live in lake bottoms, grazing off algae and bacteria in the sediment. Beach said people become infected when they wade through shallow water and stir up the bottom. If someone allows water to shoot up the nose - say, by doing a cannonball off a cliff - the amoeba can latch onto the person's olfactory nerve.

The amoeba destroys tissue as it makes its way up to the brain.

People who are infected tend to complain of a stiff neck, headaches and fevers, Beach said. In the later stages, they'll show signs of brain damage such as hallucinations and behavioral changes.

Once infected, most people have little chance of survival. Some drugs have been effective stopping the amoeba in lab experiments, but people who have been attacked rarely survive, Beach said.

"Usually, from initial exposure it's fatal within two weeks," Beach said.

Researchers still have much to learn about Naegleria, Beach said. For example, it seems that children are more likely to get infected, and boys are infected more often than girls. Experts don't know why.

"Boys tend to have more boisterous activities (in water), but we're not clear," he said.

In addition to the Arizona case, health officials reported two cases in Texas and three more in central Florida this year. In response, central Florida authorities started an amoeba telephone hot line advising people to avoid warm, standing water, or any areas with obvious algae blooms.

Texas health officials also have issued news releases about the dangers of amoeba attacks and to be cautious around water. People "seem to think that everything can be made safe, including any river, any creek, but that's just not the case," said Doug McBride, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Lake Havasu City officials also are discussing how to deal with rare amoeba attacks in the wake of Aaron Evans' death. "Some folks think we should be putting up signs. Some people think we should close the lake," city spokesman Charlie Cassens said. City leaders haven't yet decided what to do.

Beach warned that people shouldn't panic about the dangers of brain-eating amoeba. Infections are extremely rare when compared with the number of times a year people come into contact with water. And there have been occasional years during the past two decades that experts noticed a similar spike in infections.

The easiest way to prevent infection, Beach said, is to simply plug your nose when swimming or diving in fresh water.

"You'd have to have water going way up in your nose to begin with" to be infected, he said.

David Evans has tried to learn as much as possible about amoebas during the past month. But it still doesn't make much sense. The questions keep swirling around his head. Why now? His family has gone to Lake Havasu countless times without a problem. Have people always been in danger? Did city officials know about amoebas? Can they do anything to kill them off?

"It's been pretty heavy-duty," he said.

Evans lives within eyesight of Lake Havasu, a bulging strip of the Colorado River that separates Arizona from California. Temperatures hover in the triple digits all summer, and like almost everyone else, the Evans family looks to the lake to cool off.

On Sept. 8, he brought Aaron, his two other children and his parents to Lake Havasu to celebrate his birthday. They ate sandwiches and spent a few hours splashing around one of the beaches.

"For a week, everything was fine," he said.

Then Aaron got the headache that wouldn't go away. Evans took him to the hospital, and doctors thought his son was suffering from meningitis. Aaron was rushed to another hospital in Las Vegas.

Evans tried to reassure his son, but he had no idea what was wrong. On Sept. 17, Aaron stopped breathing as David held him in his arms.

"He was brain dead," David said. Only later did doctors realize the boy had been infected with Naegleria.

"My kids won't ever swim on Lake Havasu again."


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: amoeba; brain; braineatingamoeba; cdc; disease; isntnaturewonderful; lakehavasu; naegleriafowleri; prayers; rip; swimming
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1 posted on 09/27/2007 5:06:34 AM PDT by radar101
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To: radar101

That’s it, I’ve had it. I’m moving to Greenland.


2 posted on 09/27/2007 5:08:38 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: radar101

Oh great, Something else to fear.


3 posted on 09/27/2007 5:08:59 AM PDT by refermech
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To: radar101
"In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases."

geez.....can't resist adding THAT, can he? Just report on the facts, dude.

4 posted on 09/27/2007 5:09:35 AM PDT by ZinGirl
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To: radar101

Damn...having a 13 & 12 yr old I can feel this family’s pain. Prayers out to them...I can’t even imagine.


5 posted on 09/27/2007 5:10:35 AM PDT by oust the louse ("NEVER LET THE ENEMY PICK THE BATTLESITE".....General George S. Patton,Jr.)
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To: radar101
"In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases."

This plug for global warming is brought to you by the Gore Carbon Trading Ponzi Scheme; James Hansen and George Soros co-treasurers.

6 posted on 09/27/2007 5:13:47 AM PDT by Jagman (I drank Frank Rabelais under the table!)
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To: radar101

Dreadful. May the young man rest in peace. Prayers for the family.


7 posted on 09/27/2007 5:15:13 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~~~Jihad Fever -- Catch It !~~~ (Backup tag: "Live Fred or Die"))
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To: radar101
The 2 Texas cases were from the same lake.....Lake LBJ near Marble Falls in the Hill Country. Severe flooding earlier in the summer left the lake covered with debris and spoiled by chemical and septic inflow.

Judging from the pictures I saw, the lake should have been closed, Further more, the lake, due to extensive rain and cloud cover, had cooler water temps than what they would have been normally.

8 posted on 09/27/2007 5:22:36 AM PDT by wolfcreek (The Status Quo Sucks!)
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To: ZinGirl

Exactly what I noticed and was going to post. Sheesh, just the facts, leave out your personal political religion.


9 posted on 09/27/2007 5:22:51 AM PDT by Obadiah
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To: radar101

“’In future decades, as temperatures rise, we’d expect to see more cases.’...In the later stages, they’ll show signs of brain damage such as hallucinations and behavioral changes.”

They left out the most important statistic: 99.99% of Demoncratic Party found to be infected.


10 posted on 09/27/2007 5:25:18 AM PDT by RouxStir (No Peeing Allowed in the Gene Pool.)
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To: radar101

They have several amoeba deaths here in Florida every year. Just had a couple in the past month. They warn against swimming in the lakes.


11 posted on 09/27/2007 5:27:42 AM PDT by Brilliant
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To: radar101

We were in Florida last month and this was on the news. Killed a kid in the Orlando area. I had never heard of it before. Disturbing.


12 posted on 09/27/2007 5:30:07 AM PDT by Hoodlum91 (I support global warming.)
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To: radar101

I remember a story just like this from a lake or lakes in central Florida back around 1968 or 1969.

I stayed OUT of that lake!


13 posted on 09/27/2007 5:38:46 AM PDT by RexBeach ("Americans never quit." Douglas MacArthur)
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To: wolfcreek

I pray the family who suffered loss looks to the Lord for comfort and has Christian friends who can support them.

This next comment is off topic:

“The 2 Texas cases were from the same lake.....Lake LBJ near Marble Falls in the Hill Country. Severe flooding earlier in the summer left the lake covered with debris and spoiled by chemical and septic inflow.”

What did you expect from a lake named for the biggest sewer pipe in Texas history?


14 posted on 09/27/2007 5:38:59 AM PDT by Manfred the Wonder Dawg (Test ALL things, hold to that which is True.)
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To: radar101

I have read about parasites in lakes in Africa like this, but in Arizona!


15 posted on 09/27/2007 5:48:29 AM PDT by GeorgefromGeorgia
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To: radar101

Wasn’t there a House episode on this?


16 posted on 09/27/2007 5:50:03 AM PDT by Crazieman (The Democrat Party: Culture of Treason)
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To: radar101

I’ve always wondered about lake water. I don’t particularly enjoy the though of swimming in boat engine fluids and gasoline, fertlizer runoff, random sewage leakage and, now, ameobas.

Oh, my drinking water comes fom a lake.


17 posted on 09/27/2007 5:56:47 AM PDT by dinoparty
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To: radar101
"In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases."

Global Warming strikes again. Good grief.

18 posted on 09/27/2007 6:25:47 AM PDT by SampleMan (Islamic tolerance is practiced by killing you last.)
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To: radar101

bookmark


19 posted on 09/27/2007 6:25:51 AM PDT by Bon mots
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To: Hoodlum91

You should see the frogs! 8 legs, etc.


20 posted on 09/27/2007 6:31:03 AM PDT by Fawn (http://www.brightlion.com/InHope/InHope_en.aspx)
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To: SampleMan
"In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases."

You can almost feel the Bush's Fault overtones seeping through.
21 posted on 09/27/2007 6:35:26 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (Ron Paul put the cuckoo in my Cocoa Puffs)
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To: Hoodlum91
We were in Florida last month and this was on the news.

But we're they "brain-eating" amoebas?
22 posted on 09/27/2007 6:38:27 AM PDT by zencat (The universe is not what it appears, nor is it something else.)
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To: radar101

That’s some nasty stuff.

Poor kid.


23 posted on 09/27/2007 6:38:41 AM PDT by Vanbasten
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To: radar101
Bad bugs in Lake Havasu...

The downstream bilge from Vegas??
Worth a wonder...

24 posted on 09/27/2007 6:45:03 AM PDT by Wings-n-Wind (The main things are the plain things!)
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To: radar101
Michael Beach, a specialist in recreational water-born illnesses for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Was he destined for this career?

25 posted on 09/27/2007 6:46:52 AM PDT by ValerieTexas
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To: wolfcreek

I know I sure wasn’t tempted to go lake swimming this year in central Texas. This article is a lot more informative than anything I’ve read locally following the 2 deaths in Lake LBJ.


26 posted on 09/27/2007 6:49:18 AM PDT by ValerieTexas
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To: radar101

27 posted on 09/27/2007 6:49:54 AM PDT by Rb ver. 2.0 (Reunite Gondwanaland!)
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To: 1rudeboy
The "amoeba" as we call it, rarely strikes, but when it does its is deadly. There are some simple "amoeba" rules to follow. First don't swim in cloudy, muddy, slimy or other murky water - "You ain't no gator." Second, don't stir up the bottom silt and muck. Third, avoid the warm shallow water near the lake shore (This is why kids are so vulnerable). Most importantly, don't put your head under the water, but if you do, keep a positive lung pressure to push an air bubble out of your nose rather than to let the water seep into the nose. If you stay in the deep water your odds are much better.
28 posted on 09/27/2007 6:50:46 AM PDT by ghostrider
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To: ghostrider

Thanks for the positive suggestions. I train and swim in open water (state park lakes usually) and will adopt your recommendations.


29 posted on 09/27/2007 7:04:15 AM PDT by trimom
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To: radar101
Best to the family. I try not to imagine the difficulty they're going through here.

I am a bit surprised at the apparent lack of treatment options, effective or not.

30 posted on 09/27/2007 7:05:43 AM PDT by newzjunkey (Pope to politicians: "(Do) not to allow children to be considered as a form of illness.")
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To: radar101; neverdem

There have been a couple of cases from those swimming in the Tennessee River.


31 posted on 09/27/2007 7:13:48 AM PDT by vetvetdoug
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To: trimom

Problems are rare, but most folks have no idea that there is an Amoeba risk. Another elevated risk factor is late summer when the water is warmer.


32 posted on 09/27/2007 7:22:02 AM PDT by ghostrider
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To: Hoodlum91

Family of second Florida victim looking to sue the gubermint for not issuing stern enough warnings, according to some news reports.


33 posted on 09/27/2007 7:35:54 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Fred Dalton Thompson for President)
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To: 1rudeboy

“That’s it, I’ve had it. I’m moving to Greenland.”

Reminds me of a Vietnam vet that said he moved to Alaska to avoid
the creepy-crawlers (as he’d seen enough in Vietnam).

Moving to Greenland might be a good move; I saw a news report about
how tourism biz is thriving at one village there “because the ice
is melting”.
Of course, no mention about the Antarctic ice mass growing...


34 posted on 09/27/2007 7:48:18 AM PDT by VOA
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To: ZinGirl; Jagman
"In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases."

Global Warming will EAT YOUR BRAIN

35 posted on 09/27/2007 8:02:42 AM PDT by BOBTHENAILER (One by one, in small groups or in whole armies, we don't care how we do it, but we're gonna getcha)
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To: All

If this deadly, simple-celled organism that destroys the brains of our children hasn’t yet been named, I’d like to offer my suggestion: NEA.


36 posted on 09/27/2007 8:02:47 AM PDT by DPMD
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To: ghostrider

There is another point. These things don’t normally become active until the water temperature gets above 80 degrees, which in Florida usually means afternoons from June until late September. So in those times, swim in swimming pools or salt water, and for God’s sake do not wade and put your head under water swimming in that area!


37 posted on 09/27/2007 8:05:41 AM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla (IF TREASON IS THE QUESTION, THEN MOVEON.ORG IS THE ANSWER!)
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To: Lucius Cornelius Sulla

Yes! I forgot to mention temperature which leads to an elevated risk in summer and especially in shallow lake shore water that is often luke warm.


38 posted on 09/27/2007 8:34:13 AM PDT by ghostrider
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To: Hoodlum91
Yeah -- the kid went for a swim in Lake Jessamine and died a few days later. It's actually got the triathlon folks in a tizzy, since most of our races have a lake swim portion (ocean swims get everyone freaked about sharks.) Last year it was gator attacks, though.

Such is the hysteria over ameobas down here, when I scratched my cornea a few weeks ago while in my gym's swimming pool, my eye doctor had me on a course of strong antibiotics to keep me from developing any amoebic infection -- even though I'd been swimming in a freaksomely chlorinated public pool. The paranoia is at a fever pitch right now.

39 posted on 09/27/2007 9:30:52 AM PDT by RepoGirl ("Tom, I'm getting dead from you, but I'm not getting Un-dead..." -- Frasier Crane)
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To: Obadiah
Sheesh, just the facts, leave out your personal political religion.

He just noted that temperatures were expected to rise. That's a fact. He didn't insinuate the rise was man-made. That would be fiction.

40 posted on 09/27/2007 9:36:30 AM PDT by BearCub
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To: radar101

A friend of mine survived this disease.

He swam in very dirty swimming pool and became ill a few days later.

His doctor was treating him for a sinus infection.

The doctor sent him home where he had a seizure and was sent back to the emergency room.

He was rushed to a better hospital in the city that night where, after emergency brain surgery, he recovered.


41 posted on 09/27/2007 9:48:14 AM PDT by pax_et_bonum
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To: onedoug

ping


42 posted on 09/27/2007 9:56:15 AM PDT by windcliff
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To: radar101

This amoeba has long been a concern for people soaking in natural hot springs in the Southwest, but the better informed know to just avoid immersing their head in the water.


43 posted on 09/27/2007 9:57:32 AM PDT by ravinson
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To: Neil E. Wright

Please stay out of Lake Havasu if you value your brain!


44 posted on 09/27/2007 9:58:33 AM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: oust the louse

I’ve seen this on our local news, we’ve had 3 or 4 kids die from it already.


45 posted on 09/27/2007 10:00:29 AM PDT by darkangel82 (Socialism is NOT an American value.)
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To: windcliff
Prayer for Aaron.

I'll stick to the pool.

46 posted on 09/27/2007 10:02:04 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: radar101

Deadly amoeba lurks in Florida lakes

ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) — Something in the lakes around Orlando, Florida, has claimed the lives of three boys this summer.

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/09/18/zarrella.killerlakes/?imw=Y&iref=mpstoryemail


47 posted on 09/27/2007 10:06:32 AM PDT by maggief
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To: BearCub
He just noted that temperatures were expected to rise... He didn't insinuate the rise was man-made.

He didn't have to. It's a given. The debate is over.

48 posted on 09/27/2007 10:41:32 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler ("A person's a person no matter how small." -Dr. Seuss)
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To: Jeff Chandler
The debate is over.

Yeah, I heard the lefties had declared the debate over. I don't think any sane person can deny the warming though. I was in Alaska last year and was kind of sad to see how much the glaciers have receded. What used to be spectacular sheer walls of ice is now a rocky, muddy mess. But there's no proof it's manmade.

49 posted on 09/27/2007 11:19:35 AM PDT by BearCub
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To: ValerieTexas; All
“2 deaths in Lake LBJ”

Did you see the story about the other creatures they found in another Texas lake?

I believe they were also amoebas which, are normally the size of a pencil eraser. These things grew to the size of dinner plates. Looked a little like those cabbage-head jellyfish you see at the coast.

I blame it on fertilizer runoff.

50 posted on 09/27/2007 12:53:35 PM PDT by wolfcreek (The Status Quo Sucks!)
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