Patient from Missouri dies after contracting brain-eating amoeba while swimming in now-closed Iowa lake

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The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services confirmed Friday the death of a Missouri patient after contracting a brain-eating amoeba after visiting Lake Iowa.

The patient died of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a usually fatal infection caused by Amoeba naigleria fowlerithe Associated Press reported.

NBC News has reached out to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for more information.


The death of a Missouri resident was first reported by Des Moines Record.

Missouri health officials did not identify the patient, who was in the intensive care unit before his death, the registry reported.

“Because these cases are extremely rare and out of respect for the family, we do not intend to release additional information about the patient that could lead to an individual being identified,” Lisa Cox, director of communications for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, told the registry in an email.

The registry reported that the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services learned of the infection on July 6. Officials believe the patient swam in Lake Iowa suspected of carrying the amoeba in late June. Lake Three Fires in Taylor County, Iowa, where a Missouri is believed to have contracted the amoeba, was Closed earlier this month as a ‘precautionary response’.

The Missouri Department of Health and Services warned in a tweet that the amoeba is “not contagious” but can be fatal if someone becomes infected.

“Although rare, infection can occur when water containing Naegleria fowleri enters through the nose from warm fresh water. The amoeba travels through the nose to the brain where it destroys brain tissue. This infection is not contagious and cannot be transmitted by ingestion of water,” the section chirp.

The mortality rate for those who contract primary amoebic meningoencephalitis from Naegleria fowleri is over 97 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s often contracted from rivers and lakes, the CDC said. Of the 154 cases reported in the United States, only four people survived Naegleria fowleri, officials told the registry.

The Missouri resident will likely be the first person to be reported in Iowa, according to the CDC.

The registry stated that initial symptoms of infection include headache, fever, nausea and vomiting.

No additional cases of amoebic meningoencephalitis have been reported, according to the registry.

Officials said the death is being investigated, and while the patient is believed to have contracted the amoeba in Lake Three Fires, other bodies of water are being tested.

“Public health experts strongly believe that the lake is a potential source, but we do not limit the investigation to this source because it has not been confirmed. Additional public water sources are being tested in Missouri,” the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services chirp.

Associated PressAnd the Marilyn Linthang And the TJ Swiggart Contributed.



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