Teenager Dies Of A Rare Disease After Swim In River

By: Pat Prescott
Published: Aug 17, 2021

A Florida teenager dies of a rare disease after swimming in the St. Johns River. 16-year old year-old Courtney Nash was infected by a rare amoeba that is found in warm river and pond waters. The girl was swimming with the rest of her family last week when she got the amoeba Entamoeba histolytica, which causes a brain infection.

Nash became very ill shortly after the swim and then a few days later was rushed to the hospital after her illness got worse. Doctors said when she arrived at the hospital she was already in critical condition. Nash ended up passing away at 4:30 in the afternoon on Saturday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to confirm the findings by the teen’s Orlando doctors. According to the CDC, this brain infection, which is very rare, has taken the lives of 30 Floridians since the year 1937. The dangerous and rare parasite is commonly found in stagnant freshwater during hot weather, as well as poorly tended pools or hot tubs. The parasite enters the victim through the nose and then attacks the brain and spinal chord, doctors said.

Typically 5 people or less a year across the country catch the deadly infection and only 1 person since the 1970′s has survived it, Florida’s last confirmed case came in 2009, the Orlando Sentinel reported. When infected with the amoeba symptoms, included headache, nausea, and rigidity of the neck muscles, progressing to vomiting, delirium, seizures, and eventually irreversible coma. Death usually occurs within 14 days of exposure as a result of respiratory failure when the infection spreads to the brain stem, destroying the autonomic nerve cells of the medulla oblongata.

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