Two-year-old boy dies after catching a brain-eating amoeba at hot spring
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A two-year-old boy has died from a brain-eating amoeba infection after visiting a natural hot spring in the United States.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the boy from Lincoln County, just north of the Las Vegas area, died from Naegleria fowleri last week.
"Naegleria fowleri is a microscopic single-celled living ameba that occurs naturally in the environment," a media release from the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPPH) explained.
"This ameba can cause a very serious rare infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) that destroys brain tissue and is almost always fatal."
The DPPH believes the boy may have come in contact with the amoeba while visiting Ash Springs, a natural hot spring in Lincoln County.
In a Facebook post, the boy's mother Briana Bundy, said her two-year-old son, Woodrow Turner Bundy, died Wednesday after fighting the infection for a week.
"He fought seven days. The longest any person has survived on record is three. I knew I had the strongest son in the world," she wrote.
“He is my hero and I will forever be grateful to God for giving me the goodest baby boy on earth, and I am grateful to know I will have that boy in heaven someday."
An obituary for the toddler said he loved animals, watching his dad take things apart and put them back together, and 'tormenting' his sisters and chasing them around the house.
"Woodrow’s life was a testament of how we should all live. He did everything aggressively. He loved hard, sometimes too hard. He found joy and wonder in all of God’s creations and beauties. He loved life, and he loved his family with every ounce of his soul. He fought with the strength of 1000 men to stay for his family but when he had done all that was required of him, he made it known to all that he had prevailed," the obituary reads.
"He was welcomed into heaven by a host of cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends with cheers of victory. Woodrow Turner Bundy will be missed tremendously, but a mark like his is never forgotten."
In its release, the DPPH said Naegleria fowleri lives in soil and warm fresh water, such as lakes, rivers, and hot springs. The ameba infects people by entering the body through the nose and travelling to the brain.
It's not spread from person to person.
Because the infection occurs naturally, there is no way to remove it from fresh bodies of water.