A 2-year-old boy in Nevada has died after becoming infected with Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba, officials and his mother confirmed.
In a July 20 Press releaseThe Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) reported that the Lincoln County toddling may have been exposed at Ash Springs, a natural hot spring located 100 miles north of Las Vegas.
DPBH said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that Naegleria fowleri was the cause of the patient’s illness.
While DPBH did not identify the child, Briana Bundy confirmed the death of her son Woodrow Turner Bundy on her Facebookshares his obituary.
Woodrow, who was born May 3, 2021, died July 19, according to the obituary, which also adds, “He loved animals, chickens, rabbits, cows and especially elk… He loved life and he loved his family with every ounce of his soul.”
DPBH and Bundy did not immediately respond to TODAY.com’s request for comment.
According to the CDC, Naegleria fowleri is a single-celled living organism that “lives in soil and warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers and hot springs.” Commonly called the “brain-eating amoeba,” it can cause a brain infection when water containing the amoeba goes up the nose. “Only about three people in the United States become infected each year, but these infections are usually fatal,” the CDC says. It does not spread from person to person.
In October, another Nevada boy died of Naegleria fowleri after contracting the infection while at Lake Mead in Arizona. In August, a child, whose age was not released, also died from a suspected case of the brain-eating amoeba while swimming in the Elkhorn River in Nebraska.
The CDC notes that because the amoeba occurs naturally, there is no way to remove it from fresh bodies of water. Symptoms of an infection include severe headache, nausea, vomiting and fever which can lead to seizures, stiff neck and coma which can lead to death.
The CDC recommends taking the following precautions:
- Avoid jumping or diving into warm fresh water, especially in summer.
- Keep your nose closed, use nose clips, or keep your head above water when in warm fresh water.
- Avoid submerging your head in hot springs and other untreated geothermal water.
- Avoid digging in or stirring up the sediment in shallow, warm fresh water. The amoebae are more likely to live in sediment at the bottom of lakes, ponds and rivers.