The United States has recorded 129 cases of people with the protozoan. Among the victims, only two survived
An eight-year-old boy died in Argentina after contracting an amoeba known by the name of Naegleria fowleri , or “amoeba that eats brains.” When it enters the human body, it destroys the brain tissue, in addition to causing edema (accumulation of liquid) and, later, death.
This is the first time the case, reported as rare, has been reported in Argentina, according to the newspaper “Clarín.” Also according to the publication, the child contracted the amoeba in 2017, when it was swimming in a lagoon near the province of Junín, located 320 kilometers from the capital Buenos Aires.
Initial symptoms usually appear within one to seven days and may include headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. The rapidly progressing disease may also have neck stiffness, confusion, loss of balance, seizures, and hallucinations.
In addition to the most common symptoms, the child in question had photophobia and symptoms of meningitis – inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain. The boy died between five and seven days later, the newspaper says.
At the time, the case was reported in a local epidemiological bulletin, but was released only last week by the International Society of Infectious Diseases.
The disease has a high degree of mortality. The United States, which has recorded 129 cases between 1962 and 2013, with only two survivors.
A source from Clarín, Sixto Raúl Costamagna, former president of the Argentine Parasitological Association, believes that the amoeba has arrived in the country due to global climate change. “Small variations in temperature produce changes in the cycles of parasites,” he said. Disease progresses rapidly Naegleria fowleri is often found in fresh water, such as lakes, rivers and hot springs. This parasite swims freely and usually enters the body through the nose, while people swim or dive. It can then reach the brain and cause a devastating infection.