Tarrant 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.