Oklahoma man dies from brain-eating amoeba

Posted at 5:27 PM, Aug 13, 2015
By Catherine E. Shoichet and Debra Goldschmidt


(CNN) — A deadly brain infection caused by an amoeba killed an Oklahoma man after a recent lake swim, state health officials said.

The man died Wednesday in an Oklahoma City hospital after swimming last week in Lake Murray in Ardmore, Oklahoma, CNN affiliate KFOR reported.

He had contracted primary amebic meningoencephalitis, known as PAM, the Oklahoma State Department of health said Wednesday.

The rare infection is caused by the Naegleria fowleri amoeba.

A California woman died from the same infection last month.

There were 35 cases in the United States between 2005 and 2014. Since 1952, there have been about 133 known cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three people survived.

Someone can get infected with PAM from swimming in warm fresh water, such as a lake or river. The amoeba enters the nose and then goes to the brain, where it causes swelling that is almost always fatal.

According to the CDC, symptoms include headache, fever, vomiting, seizures and hallucinations.

Even though it is rare, health officials advise that people should be aware of the potential risks of swimming in lakes and try to limit how much water goes into their noses.

It is not contagious.

CNN’s Mariano Castillo and John Newsome contributed to this report.