Deadly Brain-Eating Amoeba Endangers Person in South Carolina

While the Zika virus has reached American shores after news of 15 different cases being reported in the Miami area, those living in South Carolina have their own health concerns. That’s because one resident has contracted a deadly amoeba after swimming near Martin’s Landing near the Edisto River on July 24.

That amoeba, known as naegleria fowleri, is especially dangerous due to the fact that 97 percent of the people that develop it end up dead. Within the past decade, 37 people have become infected, with only three surviving.

The official confirmation of naegleria fowleri came from lab tests conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. The only known drug that helps treat the issue is miltefosine, which is made by Orlando-based Profunda. Given the time considerations of getting the infected individual treated as a quickly as possible, Profunda rushed the drug by courier on August 2, a trip that took six hours by car.

The organism itself is in a number of bodies of water and develops in natural fashion when one is contaminated. While no harm comes from swallowing it, the chance of a fatality taking place ratchets up if it enters an individual’s nose. Such instances take place when a person jumps into the water or is in an area where water is rushing through. Some suggested prevention methods are to hold your nose or wear nose clips.

Miltefosine was first developed in the late 1980’s by scientists in Germany as more of drug to fight cancer.