A 10-year-old girl from Toledo, Spain, survived the first case recorded in Iberian territory of Primary Amebial Meningitis. The disease is rare and almost always lethal (97%), writes the Spanish newspaper El País.
The case was discovered in March, when the girl went to Hospital Virgen de la Salud of Toledo with headaches, fever and stiff neck. Initially without a conclusive diagnosis, the doctors eventually discovered that the girl had been colonized by the bacterium Naegleria fowleri.
This organism "is present in the environment without causing any harm to the human being", but when it "proliferates in hot, stagnant and untreated water, it can cause mortal infections."
The amoebas "reach the brain through the olfactory nerves" and destroy it, explains Jacob Lorenzo-Morales of the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands, quoted by El Pais.
"They secrete enzymes that degrade tissues, causing first lethargy and headaches, which progress to convulsions, paralysis and death," the specialist says.
The girl was treated as antiparasitics given intravenously and is now free of danger. Publicly, there are no known sequelae of the disease in children.
This case may be another episode in the epic of climate change. It is suspected that Naegleria fowleri, a species of parasite found in some lakes of the United States and of hot zones has arrived at Spain by action of the global heating.
This species can invade and attack the human nervous system and is found in fresh water, such as lakes, rivers and hot springs. The parasite swims freely and usually enters the body through the nose and can be lodged in the brain. In February, a child died in Argentina victim of the bacterium.