A 21-year-old woman from Bishop, California, has died from an extremely uncommon infection called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) – after vomiting and headache turned out to be a rare, but lethal bug-eating bacteria. It is rare infection of the nervous system caused by the microscopic amoeba Naegleria fowleri.
The amoeba, is usually found in soil and fresh, warm water, and the woman is reported to have caught it while swimming in Reno, Nevada.
According to the US Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention, in the 10 years from 2005 to 2014, 35 infections from the amoeba were reported in the U.S.
Of those cases, 31 people were infected by contaminated recreational water, three people were infected after performing nasal irrigation using contaminated tap water, and one person was infected by contaminated tap water used on a backyard slip-n-slide.
She is reported to be from California, but her identity is yet to be revealed to her family. According to the Reno Gazette Journal, she died on June 20 at Reno Hospital.
‘Our next steps are to inspect the suspected sites of exposure to find what risk factors might exist like places where people might go swimming and where the domestic water supply is on the property,’ he told the paper’s reporters.
‘I advise people to be cautious when using untreated hot springs in the Sierras. The best way to do that is to keep your head above water,’ he added.
Last year, MailOnline reported on the story of Kali Hardig, who contracted amoebic meningoencephalitis at a water park in Arkansas and beat it against all odds.Kali Hardig was diagnosed with the form of parasitic meningitis in July of 2013.
At the time, she was the third person in the US to survive the infection. Before Kali, doctors could only point to one known survivor in the U.S. and another in Mexico.