A teenager in Florida was recently hospitalized due to a rare case of brain-eating amoeba.
Caleb Ziegelbauer, 13, was taken to the emergency room after experiencing what was described to NBC affiliate WBBH of Fort Myers as headaches and hallucinations. These symptoms began about one week after he and his family took a trip to a beach in Port Charlotte, Florida, on July 1.
After the teen was taken to an emergency room by his parents, doctors at the hospital were told that Naegleria fowleri, commonly referred to as the “brain-eating amoeba,” had entered his body through his nose before infecting his brain. In the weeks since, he has been battling for his life at Golisano Children’s Hospital.
According to the CDC, Naegleria fowleri is a single-cell organism found in warm bodies of freshwater. It can cause a rare infection in the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) when entering the body through the nose.
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Cases of PAM are extremely rare. Infections become more common when prolonged heat causes a decrease in water levels and rise of water temperatures.
Initial symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, or vomiting, later followed by stiff neck, confusion, lack of attention, balance loss, seizures and hallucinations.