A young boy was left fighting for his life in a coma after taking a swim in an estuary during a family trip in Florida.
13-year-old Caleb Ziegelbauer from Port Charlotte is a sea and ocean enthusiast who loves nothing more than going in for a dip with his friends and family.
During his recent family trip to a beach where the river meets the sea, the little swimmer allegedly contracted the brain-eating amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri.
The parasite infects the human brain after entering the body through the nose, whereas the fatality rate of such infections is over 97%.
While Caleb’s family believes the boy caught the parasite while swimming at the town’s public beach, local authorities suggested he must have contracted it somewhere else.
“Contrary to media reports, there have been no confirmed cases of the Naegleria fowleri amoeba in Charlotte County, according to the Department of Health Charlotte,” Port Charlotte officials said according to the Port Charlotte Sun.
They continued: “Under Florida law, all practitioners, health care facilities, and laboratories in Florida are required to notify the Florida Department of Health of diseases or conditions of public health significance, including Naegleria fowleri.”
Whatever the case, Caleb remains in a coma at Golisano Children’s Hospital where his family remains on edge while praying for the child’s recovery.
As the family explained, Caleb began suffering from hallucinations just five days after their trip to the beach. Delaying the treatment, the boy’s condition was initially misdiagnosed as meningitis.
“He required a brief period of sedation and intubation but has been breathing on his own for almost a full week now!” Caleb’s aunt, Katie Chiet, wrote in an online fundraiser.
“His MRI scan from 7/20 continues to show damage in his brain left by the amoeba but we remain hopeful that he’ll turn the corner soon and make his way back to us.”
Our thoughts are with Caleb and his family as his fight continues.
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