Rare Infection Kills Arlington Boy

kyle Rare Infection Kills Arlington BoyTarrant County Medical director Dr. Sandra Parker says 7-year-old Kyle Lewis was diagnosed with an amoebic meningitis. He caught it swimming with last week in the Paluxy River at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose.  She says the amoeba is present in bodies of water like rivers and lakes, is extremely rare and is almost always deadly.  She says the last reported case of someone dying of this in Texas was in 2008.

A release from Tarrant County says in advance of the upcoming Labor Day Weekend, Tarrant County is reminding swimmers and skiers to take precautions to avoid infection from Naegleria fowleri. The ameba can cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM, an infection of the brain. Though PAM is rare, it is usually fatal.[pullquote quote=”the amoeba is present in bodies of water like rivers and lakes, is extremely rare and is almost always deadly” credit=”Dr. Sandra Parker”]

The ameba thrives in warm, stagnant water but may be present in any body of fresh water. Infection is believed to occur when water containing the ameba is forced up the nose when diving or jumping into the water or when skiing. Symptoms of the infection may include severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting.

The ameba does not live in salt water or in swimming pools and hot tubs that are properly cleaned, maintained and treated with chlorine.

TCPH offers these precautions to reduce the already low risk of infection:
” Never swim in stagnant water.
” Hold your nose or use nose clips when skiing, jet skiing or jumping into any water.

  • Renee

    Most recently here in Stillwater, Minnesota a young girl of 7yrs old also caught a meningitis infection that affected her brain and she died. Radio reports say that it is so rare that we will probably never hear of another case like this in our lifetimes in Minnesota but this is more than coincidence. The health departments might want to share notes on theses cases for public awarness and possible future issues.

  • L

    My son (4 yrs. old) died in 1993 of what I believe to be this illness. He was jumping in a channel at Cedar Creek Lake.

  • Deidre Herrera

    I pray that you never hear of another one of these cases. My son died in 2007 from Amoebic Meningitis.(Jack Herrera) The local offiicals wanted to shake it off as rare. Unfortunately, one month later,another young man died of the same disease, from wake-boarding in the same area of the same lake. It is a very hard disease to diagnose, and there is little to no public awareness. Please put a nose clip on your children when swimming in fresh water above 80 degrees.

  • kyle's mom

    you guys are absolutely right! there needs to be more awareness and that is exactly what we’re trying to do. No other parent needs to be surprised by this…if we had been aware of this horrible creature and how to best protect our children, we would not be going through this right now.

    to each of you, i am sorry for your loss!!! awareness is key here! thanks for sharing!

    • Deidre Herrera

      Kyle’s mom-
      I am so sorry to hear about your precious son. I called your church to try and get an address to extend my sympathy to you. I know how hard this is for a mother. There are not any words I can type to ease your pain. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
      After a lot of phone calls and frustration, my husband and I were able to get signs posted in and around Austin Lakes, warning people about the presence of amoeba in warm,fresh water. The local camps started using nose clips. It is a start. I have made a career change,and I am currently in school to become an RN. Hoping I can make some sort of an impact.
      God bless you and your family.

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