Background: Naegleria Fowleri is a single-cell, thermophilic amphizoid amoeba, and a rare known causative agent for primary amoebic meningoencephalitis with >97% mortality rate. The amoeba resides in freshwater lakes and ponds but can also survive in inadequately chlorinated pools and recreational waters. The mode of infection includes activities such as diving or jumping into freshwater or submerging the head under the water. Although most commonly seen in the southern United States, it is essential to keep this clinical suspicion in mind regardless of geography, as presenting symptoms can be very similar to classic bacterial meningitis.
Conclusion: As per the CDC, only four people out of 143 known infected individuals in the United States from 1962 to 2017 have survived. Symptoms start with a median of 5 days after exposure to contaminated water. Given the rarity of this case and its very high mortality rate, it is crucial to diagnose primary amoebic meningoencephalitis accurately as its presentation can mimic bacterial meningitis. It is vital to obtain a careful and thorough history, as it can aid in prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Recommended CitationHamaty, Edward; Faiek, Saif; Nandi, Minesh; Stidd, David; Trivedi, Manish; and Kandukuri, Hari, "A Fatal Case of Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis from Recreational Waters." (2020). Department of Neurosurgery Faculty Papers. Paper 160.
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