A 1-year-old boy has tragically died after playing at a country club’s splash pad and got infected with a rare brain-eating amoeba.
Michael Alexander Pollock III was playing at Little Rock Country Club when he was exposed to Naegleria fowleri. This single-celled microorganism dwells in warm freshwater including lakes and hot springs.
Improper water treatment in private ponds, pools, and even tap water can result in deadly exposure to the amoeba.
When the bacteria enter the nose, it travels through the nasal passages and reaches the brain. It causes inflammation and destroys brain tissue, taking the lives of almost 100 percent of its victims.
The Arkansas Department of Health confirmed that the water playground where the toddler played had traces of the amoeba.
It is unclear how much time elapsed between the toddler’s exposure to the bacteria and his death but the infection usually progresses fast.
Symptoms usually occur between 1 and 12 days after being contaminated, and death occurs about five days later, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While signs initially resemble a virus, including fever, headache, stiff neck and nausea, they quickly progress to serious neurological issues such as hallucinations, coma, seizures, and often death.
In a statement, the Arkansas Department of Health said: “The CDC has reported one splash pad sample as confirmed to have viable Naegleria fowleri. The remaining samples are still pending.
“The department has been in contact with the Country Club of Little Rock, and they have been cooperative in inquiries with the ADH.”
In August, a man from Texas succumbed to the infection after swimming in Lake Lyndon B. Johnson. This came also a month after another death in Georgia.
In Nevada, a two-year-old also died of the infection from amoeba.
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