Child Dies, Naegleria fowleri, Amoeba, Red River, Bryan County, Oklahoma
The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced Tuesday that a child has died from a waterborne illness caught while swimming in the Red River last week.
Bryan County health officials are not releasing the child’s name, age, or gender, but say the youngster died from Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM), caused by an infection with a single celled organism that breeds in stagnant water.
The disease-causing amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, is naturally present in most lakes, ponds, and rivers, but multiply in warmer waters.
Symptoms of PAM include high fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Later, symptoms can include stiff neck, seizures, hallucinations, and coma.
The disease is not contagious. To avoid infections, health officials encourage Oklahomans to only swim in properly maintained pools, but if they do swim in natural bodies of water, to keep water out of the nose and mouth and wear earplugs and goggles.
The same amoeba killed two young boys in Tulsa in 2005.