Officials in South Carolina confirmed that a resident had been exposed to an extremely rare and dangerous amoeba.
An individual was exposed the brain-eating amoeba, known as Naegleria fowleri, while swimming near Martin’s Landing in Charleston County in July. The amoeba, present only in fresh warm water, is contracted when it enters the nose and travels to the brain. It is not contagious. The one-celled organism can cause inflammation of the brain through a condition called primary amebic meningoencephalitis.
State epidemiologist Linda Bell explained that “there have been fewer than 40 cases reported nationwide in the past 10 years,” with nearly all of them fatal.
A drug to combat the amoeba was immediately brought to Charleston, according to officials.
While Naegleria fowleri is extremely rare, Dr. Bell directed swimmers to be cautious to avoid contracting the deadly disease.
“You should avoid swimming or jumping into bodies of fresh water when the water is warm and the water levels are low. Also, you should either hold your nose or use a nose plug. You cannot be infected by merely drinking water containing the amoeba,” Dr. Bell said.
An Ohio teen died earlier this summer after contracting Naegleria fowleri at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C.
Families of children who died from exposure to the amoeba have fought to ensure hospitals have experimental medication readily available. Todd Maclaughlan, CEO of the drug company Profounda, said that two hospitals in Texas and one in South Carolina stock the drug called Miltefosine.
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.
As just reported by WYFF4, authorities have officially diagnosed the 18th case of the Zika virus in South Carolina. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed that the patient has been diagnosed with the virus but refused to confirm where the virus was contracted. Information from various media outlets reveals that the patient had traveled to a county in South Carolina where the Zika virus has already been reported as active.
The Zika virus has no known vaccine so far. The major side effects of this virus manifest in birth disorders, such as microcephaly, which involves babies being born with major neurological disorders along with misshapen heads. While the virus is typically transmitted through infection from a mosquito, there have been no cases reported in North or South Carolina so far of transmission through a mosquito bite. So far, the cases of the Zika virus in this region have involved travelers to counties where authorities have confirmed that the virus was already active.
Authorities state that the best way to prevent contraction of the Zika virus is to avoid contact with mosquito and to not travel to areas that have been affected by the Zika virus. If you are in an area with mosquitoes, use repellent and try to stay inside. Also, pregnant women with male partners who have been in an area exposed to the Zika virus should use a condom during intercourse as an extra precaution, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.