A single cell from a fountain killed a child in the USA

In the US state of Texas, a child died after contracting a rare brain disease after swimming in a fountain in a children’s park in Arlington. The tragedy was reported by city officials and the Tarrant County Public Health Office.

No details have been given about the identity of the September 11 child, according to Unilad. He was hospitalized on September 5 with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, an infection caused by a single-celled eukaryotic organism called Fowler’s negleria, officials said.

The parasite lives in warm water with a temperature of 25 to 32 degrees Celsius and can cause infection by entering the human body through the nose during swimming or contact with dirty water. Through the nose, the parasite enters the olfactory nerve and makes its way through it to the brain, after which it begins to eat brain cells and multiply.

The outcome is usually fatal. The maximum time from infection to death is 24 days.

After the news of the child’s illness, the district health department took water samples from both sources of possible infection – in the house where the family lives, and in the park fountain, where children usually splash. In samples from the fountain, live Fowler’s nongleria were found.

It is believed that insufficient chlorination of the water was the cause. It also turned out that the employees did not always take water samples before the opening of the fountain, where the child was infected. The fountain itself and three others on the Arlington grounds are closed until the end of the year. They will be able to open only after the introduction of a service protocol that meets the standards of the city, county and state.

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