A nine-year-old Virginia boy has died after swimming in water infected by a bug known as the "brain-eating amoeba," according to reports. It was the second such death this month.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Christian Alexander Strickland, 9, of Henrico County, became infected after he went to a fishing camp in the state.
The child died from meningitis Aug. 5 and Bonnie Strickland, his aunt, told the paper that Naegleria fowleri ? or "brain-eating amoeba" as it is sometimes known ? was a suspected cause of the illness.
"The doctor described it to us as such a slight chance that they didn't even think it would be possible," Bonnie Strickland told the Times-Dispatch.
Health department officials told the paper they do not comment on individual cases. However, they confirmed a case of meningitis and an infection by the bug.
"Sadly, we have had a Naegleria infection in Virginia this summer," Dr. Keri Hall, state epidemiologist at the Virginia Department of Health, in a statement, according to the Times-Dispatch. "It's important that people be aware of ? safe swimming messages."
Naegleria fowleri moves into the body through the nose and destroys brain tissue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bug causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a nearly always fatal disease of the central nervous system, the CDC reported.
Naegleria fowleri is usually found warm, stagnant water in freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers. It can also be found in wells.
No known treatment for infection
Currently, there is no known treatment for people who develop a brain infection with this bug, said Dr. Roy Gulick, chief of infectious disease at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
?It?s a very rare disease,? he explained. ?There have only been 111 cases reported since 1962. So it?s difficult to know what an effective treatment might be.?
The CDC confirmed reports that one person, age unknown, died from a Naegleria fowleri infection in Louisiana in June. And earlier this month, Courtney Nash, 16, died as a result of a Naegleria fowleri infection in Florida after swimming in the St. John's River, ABC News reported.
NBC-affiliate WESH.com reported that Nash was diving off a dock with family at her grandmother's house when it is thought that she caught the disease.
'I didn't get my miracle'
Courtney's mother, Patricia Nash, said that shortly before her death, Courtney had decided to become an organ donor.
She told WESH that both lungs were transplanted and Courtney's liver and pancreas were "performing another miracle for someone else." Her kidneys were also being transplanted.
"I didn't get my miracle, but she has performed other miracles," Patricia Nash said, according to WESH. "If we can save other people's lives so they don't have to go through what I just went though, this could be a blessing in disguise."
Vaccine wouldn't have prevented deaths
Inoculation with the meningitis vaccine wouldn?t have prevented these deaths, said Gulick. That?s because the vaccines target meningitis-causing bacteria, and this is an amoeba.
One of the difficulties facing doctors and researchers is the very rarity of the disease. "People don?t think of the diagnosis,? Gulick said. ?And people usually present two to 15 days after exposure. Death usually results 3 to 7 days after symptoms appear.?
Another problem, he said, is that the symptoms of this kind of brain infection are common to several other illnesses.
?When the amoeba gets into the brain, the symptoms are non specific: fever, nausea, stiff neck, headache,? he said. ?There are many diseases that can cause those kinds of symptoms.?
Still, Gulick said, ?anyone presenting with these symptoms should seek medical attenuation because they can be caused by diseases that are far more common, including viral and bacterial meningitis.?
No evidence of an outbreak
Though two cases might spark fears of an outbreak, Gulick says there?s no evidence to suggest that this is anything other than coincidence.
The best information doctors have, he explained, is from the CDC, which reports that Naegleria fowleri killed 23 people in the U.S. between 1995 and 2004, "including 2 children in the Phoenix, Arizona, area in 2002, who had been exposed to well water but had not consumed it." The agency also reports 6 documented deaths in 2007, all in warmer regions (Arizona, Texas, Florida).
No one knows why some people develop a brain infection while others don?t.
?It?s a very rare infection,? Gulick said. ?Millions are likely exposed, but only a very small percentage develop this."
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
Yes, let's keep allowing the gas drillers to frac and pump some benzine into our drinking water, and allow Michelle to dismantle the EPA.
just about a week ago expensively done ads supporting fracking and illustrating how it "couldn't possibly affect groundwater" started to appear in Oregon.
If I have to walk the corridors of the State Capitol to talk against this I will.
Don't wait till flames shoot out your spigots!
Could Fracking Cause Nuclear Disaster in New York?
Posted on June 11, 2011 by Ken
As if you need another reason to doubt it, Hydraulic Fracturing may jeopardize more than just water and surface areas.
Most of the debate on ?fracking?, or Hydraulic Fracturing, has been simply about the groundwater and the role that the chemicals used in the process of fracking may end up playing in our water supplies.
A Duke University study recently linked fracking to severe water contamination. In addition to the added chemicals, the water picks up hydrocarbons, heavy metals like arsenic, and radioactivity from the shale.
Movies like Gasland have shown the dangers that fracking does and will pose to humans and the natural environment.
The French Parliament has already voted to ban fracking due to the danger to people and the Earth.
The professional ?frackers? say there is no negative effect, it will lead America to an age of energy independence and it?s cleaner than coal or oil. Of course that is if you believe companies like Haliburton, one of the major contributors to the 87-day Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
But what price is too high for us to pay for this ?cheap?, nonrenewable, environmentally devastating ?resource??
What if this miracle of energy also resulted in the endangerment of not only the water supply to New York City, which the energy companies are clearly ready to sacrifice, but also to the nuclear plants on or near the Marcellus Shale.
Here in New York they are planning to massively frack the Marcellus Shale, a plan that has met with great opposition. In Pennsylvania, Colorado, Lousiana, and Wyoming they are going to town with fracking, and Texas is not far behind, sometimes with dire consequences.
A gas well in Pennsylvania exploded in April 2011 and sent thousands of gallons of fluids coursing through the drilling site and into a local river. The fluids were spiked with a jumble of dangerous chemicals, forcing several families to vacate their homes. This alone is a travesty to the environment and to the people of that area, and probably a danger to people even far downstream. The Pennsylvania state version of the EPA found 1200 environmental violations at gas drilling sites in 2010 alone. That is one in six wells in that state; clearly, the potential for problems is immense. More than one hundred thousand wells are expected in the next fifty years if we keep going.
Now add to this the fact that a team in the United Kingdom recently halted fracking due to fears it may have triggered small earthquakes. Other companies here in the United States, such as Chesapeake Energy, have also shut down wells in places like Arkansas.
The earthquakes were small in size, but states like New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Texas do not have a lot of the stricter earthquake building codes that cities like Los Angeles or countries like Japan have. And here in New York, there are four nuclear power plants that are located on the Marcellus Shale, and two that are nearby to it. Of these, five of the plants are 30 to 39 years old, the other one is over 20 years old, these plants were designed for a 20-year lifespan. The Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission stated that Indian Point, and 26 other nuclear plants in the US, might need to upgrade seismic safeguards because of new science that shows an increased threat. The Ramapo Seismic Zone and the Stamford-Peekskill fault line intersect roughly one mile north of Indian Point, and it is theorized it could produce an earthquake of 7.0.
Indian Point is VERY close to New York City.
Seismologist Lynn Sykes wrote in a study for Columbia?s Lahmont-Doherty Earth Observatory,
?We think that the intersection of these two (earthquake) features being so close to Indian Point makes it a place of greater risk than most other points on the map.?
This is long before the UK company suspended fracking to investigate its seismic consequences, and even before US frack wells were shut down for the same reason. If earthquakes were to result from fracking and cause a big shift in the Stamford-Peekskill fault line that is near the Indian Point nuclear facility, the results would be beyond devastating. Nestled just 35 miles north of Manhattan, ALL of New York City could be in danger if Indian Point were compromised, let alone all the other facilities in New York and other parts of America.