‘Monsters Inside Me’ to feature the Kyle Lewis story

Naegleria fowleri. Have you never heard of this deadly menace that lurks in warm, fresh water? If not, believe me, you’re not alone.

Kyle Gracin Lewis Photo courtesy of Julie Lewis

You can learn more about the devastating effects of this amoeba on tonight’s (Nov. 30) episode of Animal Planet’s “Monsters Inside Me”. The episode entitled “You Left What Inside Me?” features the tragic story of 7-year-old, Kyle Gracin Lewis.

Julie Lewis, Kyle’s mom and co-founder of the Kyle Lewis Amoeba Awareness Foundation, told the Infectious Disease Examiner on Nov. 29 that representatives of the show contacted them last summer about doing the show and filmed it last November.

The show will feature Kyle’s neurologist, Dr. Warren Marks and other health professionals and staff from Cook Children’s, where at least a portion of the show was filmed.

Kyle’s friend, Hayes Ross, will play the part of Kyle on the program, according to Mrs. Lewis.

According to Kyle Lewis Amoeba Awareness Foundation website, in August 2010, Kyle contracted the water-borne amoeba Naegleria fowleri while swimming in a lake with his family.

Young Kyle passed away from the brain infection Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) days later from something his parents never heard of before.

What is the Kyle Lewis Amoeba Awareness Foundation?

Kyle’s mom and dad, Julie and Jeremy Lewis, started the foundation to promote awareness about this deadly, waterborne parasite.

They’re promoting awareness, so other parents and families could learn about how to avoid the amoeba and prevent this infection.

Two-years later, the Kyle Lewis Amoeba Awareness Foundation’s primary goal is still awareness; however, they are doing so much more.

Julie Lewis said other goals and objectives of the foundation include getting PAM on the nationally notifiable disease list so all state health officials are aware and correctly documenting cases of the amoeba and PAM, testing fresh water samples for the presence of the amoeba, promoting rapid diagnosis and detection methods and getting an effective drug treatment to the market.

In fact, Mrs. Lewis said that there is research being done in California on a drug that is showing good promise in treatment without the toxic side effects of current, failing therapies.

In addition, with their cause of Naegleria awareness, Lewis said they are getting great support from federal, state and local health officials.

“We have a great relationship with CDC”, Lewis said.

“They have been extremely supportive of our mission since day one and have been a great source of information and together we have provided much more information about Naegleria fowleri to the public.”

According to the CDC, Naegleria is an amoeba (single-celled living organism) commonly found in warm freshwater (for example, lakes, rivers, and hot springs) and soil. Only one species (type) of Naegleria infects people: Naegleria fowleri.

Naegleria fowleri infects people when water containing the ameba enters the body through the nose. This typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. The Naegleria fowleri ameba then travels up the nose to the brain where it destroys the brain tissue.

Naegleria infections are considered rare according to health authorities.

Just this summer, fatal cases of Naegleria infection were reported in Minnesota, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Indiana.

Outside the U.S., the first ever cases were reported from Vietnam and Pakistan saw a reported outbreak of 10 people.

Julie Lewis left our conversation with a statement that really sums up what it’s all about:

“We understand the statistics tell us this is documented as rare, but when you lose a child in such a horrific way to something that could have been prevented, it doesn’t matter if it’s happened to 1 or 1 million. Parents and families have the right to be informed of such a deadly infection that has no known, guaranteed cure. It is a silent, unseen deadly risk and my child was worth protecting…I wish I had been made aware before we lost our Kyle.”

Kyle’s story can be seen on Animal Planet’s Monsters Inside Me, Friday evening (Nov. 30) at 8 pm ET.

Visit and support the Kyle Gracin Lewis – Amoeba Awareness Facebook page

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. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “trash”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
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  5. Amoeba treatment: Fort Worth hospital 1st in nation to have miltefosine on hand | Outbreak News Today says:

    […] Kyle Gracin Lewis died at Cook Children’s Medical Center in the summer of 2010, from the Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM), the brain infection caused by the water-born amoeba, known as Naegleria fowleri. […]

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