Person in Georgia dies from brain-eating amoeba after swimming in freshwater lake – becoming second US victim in two weeks
A person in Georgia has died from a deadly brain-eating amoeba, health officials say — marking the second fatality in two weeks.
The individual, who has not been named, was believed to have caught Naegleria fowleri after taking swimming in a freshwater lake or pond.
The Georgia Department of Health revealed the case over the weekend and is advising people avoid swimming in warm water.
It comes just weeks after a two-year-old boy died after contracting a deadly brain-eating amoeba while swimming in Nevada.
Doctors say cases of the disease have ‘significantly increased’ over the last four to five years as warmer temperatures heat standing bodies of water where the amoeba thrive.
The individual was believed to have caught Naegleria fowleri after taking a dip in a freshwater lake or pond in the state
It was not clear where the individual had been swimming before they were diagnosed with the disease.
There are more than 30 lakes in Georgia, with the most popular — Lake Lanier in the north of the state — seeing up to 11million visitors every year.
The case marks the sixth detected in the state since 1962 and the second in two weeks. Two-year-old Woodrow Bundy died on July 20 after catching the disease from swimming in a lake in Nevada.
Warning the disease is becoming more common, Dr Dennis Kyle, the head of cellular biology at the University of Georgia, told FOX8: ‘We are experiencing warmer temperatures, and these amoebae are thermal-tolerant… so the numbers of amoeba will be higher.
‘Warmer climate means, yes, more exposure and more cases.’
He added that in the last four to five years the number of cases reported had ‘significantly increased’.
Naegleria fowleri are tiny, single-celled organisms found in warm freshwaters such as lakes and rivers. They cannot survive in salt water and are not spread from person to person.
Generally, the amoeba enters through the nose and travels through the sinuses to the brain, where it triggers primary amebic meningoencephalitis — a rare and usually fatal brain infection.
It spreads up nerves to the brain, where it multiplies and destroys the tissue and causes the brain to swell.
In the early stages, patients initially experience headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, but days and weeks later they can also face hallucinations and seizures.
Only five people out of the more than 150 who got the microscopic bug in the US between 1962 and 2023 survived.
It comes after toddler Woodrow died after contracting a deadly brain-eating amoeba while swimming in Nevada.
Pictured above is how a Naegleria fowleri infection is sparked and how the disease spreads to the brain
His mother, Briana Bundy, announced the two-year-old’s death in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
She wrote: ‘Woodrow Turner Bundy returned victoriously to our father in heaven at 2:56am.
‘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.’
Woodrow passed away on July 19 from the infection caused by Naegleria fowleri, which is fatal in almost all cases. Only a handful of Americans have ever survived it.