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Parasitic meningitis case confirmed in Glades County, Florida

Just weeks after the Kali Hardig parasitic meningitis case was confirmed in Arkansas, health authorities in Glades County, Florida are reporting a case of an individual infected with the “brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri.

Hendry County Health Department spokesperson, Brenda Barnes, confirmed the infection with The Global Dispatch via telephone.

brain-eating amoeba

Naegleri fowleri Image/CDC

According to a health department press release today emailed to The Global Dispatch:

A confirmed case of Naegleria fowleri has been reported in Glades County. Naegleria fowleri (commonly referred to as the “brain-eating amoeba”), is a microscopic amoeba which is a single-celled living organism. It can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The amoeba is commonly found in warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers, ponds and canals. Infections can happen when contaminated water enters the body through the nose. Once the amoeba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM (which destroys brain tissue) and is usually fatal. Infections usually occur when it is hot for prolonged periods of time, which results in higher water temperatures and lower water levels. The peak season for this amoeba is July, August and September.

Naegleria fowleri infections are rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 28 infections were reported in the U.S. from 2003 to 2012. The infections occurred from exposure to contaminated recreational water. You cannot be infected with Naegleria fowleri by drinking contaminated water and the amoeba is not found in salt water.

Initial symptoms of PAM usually start within 1 to 7 days after infection. The initial symptoms may include headache, fever, nausea, or vomiting. Other symptoms can include stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, seizures, and hallucinations. After the start of symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly.

Naegleria fowleri is found in many warm freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers in the United States, but mostly in southern-tier states. The low number of infections makes it difficult to know why a few people have been infected compared to the millions of other people that used the same or similar waters across the U.S.

Related storyNeti pots, Naegleria and you

Earlier today, the mother of Kali Hardig posted the following on the Prayers for Kali Le Ann Facebook page:

I’m Kali’s mom:

Kali and I are asking for you all to add Zachary to your prayers. Zachary is a 12 year old boy in FL battle the same thing Kali has. We want prayers 4 # 4 !!!! You got this!!!! Kali’s Krew loves you and is supporting you all the way!! Slow and steady wins the race! 

LISTEN: CDC expert, Dr. Jennifer Cope talks parasitic meningitis and Naegleria fowleri

Pray4Number4 Image/Swim above water Facebook page

Pray4Number4
Image/Swim above water Facebook page

On the Facebook page, Swim Above Water, there was the following post:

To our friends: Zachary is fighting so very hard. He is facing some challenges, that is sure. But, we hope with prayer and a little miracle, he could overcome the infection that has invaded him. Zachary has Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis, PAM caused by contact with Naegleria Fowleri, NF. He is LITERALLY fighting for his life at this very moment. Everything is touch and go. YOUR prayer could make the difference. Please stop what you are doing right now, and give a short prayer, lifting Zachary up to the hands of God for healing. Hang in there Zac. ‪#‎pray4number4‬

Related story: Arkansas girl, Kali Hardig making great progress in her recovery, What is this experimental anti-amoeba drug?

The boy, identified as 12-year-old Zachary Reyna on the Facebook page, is currently in critical condition in a Miami Pediatric ICU.

Health officials offer the following precautions to take to prevent contracting this very serious infection:

The only way to prevent a Naegleria fowleri infection is not to participate in freshwater-related activities. You may reduce your risk by:

  • Limiting the amount of water going up your nose. Hold your nose shut, use nose clips, or keep your head above water when taking part in warm freshwater-related activities.
  • Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
  • Avoid digging in, or stirring up, the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Dr Susan MacManus talks politics and election 2014, Dr Chan explains UN ties to Haiti cholera epidemic and Tampa Comic Con detailed - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Florida case of parasitic meningitis confirmed […]

  2. Don’t Go In The Water? Naegleria Fowleri, the Brain-Eating Amoeba, and Your Chances of Getting It. | Alternative Holistic Health Answers says:

    […] Parasitic meningitis case confirmed in Glades County, Florida (theglobaldispatch.com) […]

  3. Florida boy, Zachary Reyna loses battle with deadly amoeba, condolences and prayers pour in - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a sad story out of Miami, Zachary Reyna, the 12-year-old boy who contracted the  ”brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri, a couple of weeks ago has […]

  4. Florida boy, Zachary Reyna loses battle with deadly amoeba, condolences and prayerspour in - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a sad story out of Miami, Zachary Reyna, the 12-year-old boy who contracted the  ”brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri, a couple of weeks ago has […]

  5. Testing on Florida boy, Zachary Reyna, shows ‘negative activity from the amoeba’ - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Related story: Parasitic meningitis case confirmed in Glades County, Florida […]

  6. Conspiracy Theories! | Ron Paul says ‘None of the Above’ for next Fed chair – The Global Dispatch says:

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  7. Fla. boy infected with "brain-eating" amoeba - CBS News - ehealthjournal.net | ehealthjournal.net says:

    […] Reyna, 12, critically ill after rare amoeba infection from swimming waterDaily MailThe Global Dispatch -MyFox Tampa Bay -Newserall 36 news […]

  8. Anonymous says:

    Praying for the entire Villareal and Reyna family. Zachary is a strong boy. We will see him again on the baseball field. Immokalee, FL community

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