A seven-year-old boy has died after contracting a rare, brain-eating waterborne parasite from a lake in California last month.
His aunt Crystal Hayley told CBS News that David Pruitt died from primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, otherwise known as PAM, on July 30 after being hospitalised the same day in his native Tehama County.
The family confirmed David Pruitt’s passing on August 7, and they said that they were sad and broken-hearted to report that their sweet David had passed on, which the family wrote on GoFundMe.
They said that he’s now in the loving arms of our Lord and family members who have passed before him and that they were now rejoicing in knowing he was no longer in pain and in the best of care.
According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the parasite in question, called Naegleria Fowleri, is typically contracted once contaminated water enters the body through the nose.
The dangerous amoeba is usually found in temperate fresh bodied waters such as rivers or lakes, however, several cases have been reported while swimming in poorly treated pools.
It said, that once the amoeba penetrates the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM, which is normally fatal.
The CDC reported that those who contract the parasite initially experience severe headaches, nausea and vomiting. Those who have contracted it have also reported a stiff neck and even hallucinations and seizures as the infection becomes worse.
Crystal Hayley added that the family wants people to be aware of this amoeba and the illness symptoms.
David Pruitt’s death came almost a year after a six-year-old Texas boy, Josiah McIntyre, died in September 2020 after getting the same strain of parasite at either the Lake Jackson splash pad or a hose at his family’s home.
Three samples of contaminated water taken from the Lake Jackson splash pad were examined by the CDC two weeks after Josiah McIntyre’s death, and all three ultimately tested positive for the harmful bacteria.
At a benefit, days after Josiah McIntyre’s sad passing, his mother recounted the life her boy lived, and Maria Castillo told CNN at the time that he was an energetic little boy, and that he was a really good big brother – he just loved and cared about a lot of people.
So, it seems now that it’s not safe for children to go into the water. Even if the probabilities are minuscule that your child could get infected, that wouldn’t be much comfort if your child has the bad luck to get it – you just don’t know what’s lurking, and there are all kinds of nastiness proliferating in them.
All rivers and lakes are infected by a variety of parasites, and it would be great if we saw more information about preventing this, particularly if there’s no effective treatment once a person is contaminated.
And it’s a huge problem when water warms enough to grow bacteria, particularly in the hot weather.