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#106287 - 09/19/07 05:12 PM Deadly Amoeba Lurks in Florida Lakes
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Something else to worry about in water... the sentence in bold type is mine.

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/09/18/zarrella.killerlakes/

By John Zarrella and Patrick Oppman

"ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- Something in the lakes around Orlando, Florida, has claimed the lives of three boys this summer.

"This thing is just there. It's lurking like some deadly thing in the water which can take our children's lives and we all have to be aware," said Orange County Health Department Director Dr. Kevin Sherin.

The "thing" isn't a fish or alligator. It is so small it cannot be seen with the naked eye. The killer that lives in the hot, fresh water is a single cell amoeba that once exposed to the human brain through the nasal passages is almost always fatal.

At first people exposed to the amoeba, naegleria fowleri, suffer from flu-like symptoms. Very quickly, in from one to 14 days, the symptoms worsen, Sherin said. "There's a downhill course. Folks lapse into a coma; there are abnormal movements of the eyes and a terrible cascade of events leading to the actual death of parts of the brain."

Sherin said exposure to the amoeba can be detected by an MRI and it can be treated with antibiotics if caught early enough, but Sherin said he believes medical personnel are not in the habit of looking for the disease.

That is because the amoeba is very rare. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, has documented 24 cases in the United States since 1989.

Health officials do not know what caused three cases in Orlando in one summer. Theories range from warmer temperatures to a drought that has lowered lake levels. Sherin said officials considered closing access to the lakes, but concluded they did not have the authority. Even if public lakes had been closed, private lakes would have remained open.

So, at 15 parks and lakes around the city, warnings about the amoeba have been posted. The signs urge bathers to wear nose clips or stay out of water warmer than 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be a breeding ground for the amoeba.

The warnings provide little solace for Steve Sellars.

Health investigators said they believe Sellars' 11-year old son, Will, was exposed to the amoeba during an August weekend spent learning to wakeboard on Orlando's Lake Jessamine.

"You think it won't happen to me, it won't happen to my family." Sellars said. "You're wrong"

"[Will's] symptoms were like a flu bug," Sellars said, "We rushed him to the hospital and two days later he's passed away. It's like a nightmare."

A month later, a 10-year-old boy died from exposure to the amoeba. Investigators have not determined where he was exposed. The death of a 14 year-old boy in June in the Orlando area also is being blamed on the amoeba.

As he investigates the deaths of the three boys from the amoeba, Sherin is concerned these type of deaths may be underreported. Health departments in Florida are not required to report amoeba infections to the state. The illness is so rare, he said, it may be commonly misdiagnosed in the United States and internationally.

He said anyone who exhibits flu-like symptoms who has been in a lake recently should see a doctor immediately.

Speaking in Will's old bedroom, which Steve Sellars has decorated with photographs of his son, Sellars said he hopes he can help get the word out. He does not want anyone to lose a family member as quickly and mysteriously as he did.

"It's the worst thing we ever had to go through and I hate to see any other parent go through this and another child lose his life," Sellars said.

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#106312 - 09/19/07 06:58 PM Re: Deadly Amoeba Lurks in Florida Lakes [Re: Susan]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 3854
Loc: Anchorage AK
I'd say the likely cause of death was a case of dumb-ass. The warnings were all over the news here in July and the beginning of August, and yet they still let the kids go out in the water after being told not to.

In this case, the kids died from osmotic darwin award syndrome, being as it was their parents that carried the trait.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#106318 - 09/19/07 07:35 PM Re: Deadly Amoeba Lurks in Florida Lakes [Re: benjammin]
RayW Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/01
Posts: 543
Loc: Orlando, FL
Local health departments issue the warnings every year down here. We go a few years and no one dies and people forget or ignore the warnings. Then someone dies and everyone starts to take notice again, should be a few more years before someone else sticks their nose in the water. And if the little critters don't get you down here the big ones will,


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#106331 - 09/19/07 08:29 PM Re: Deadly Amoeba Lurks in Florida Lakes [Re: RayW]
IzzyJG99 Offline
Geezer

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 5027
Ray is right. I live in the same area as him. Every year they say this or that about the water. Sometimes some stupid kid (Passive Eugenics, anyone?) swallows a little too much lake water accidently and dies.
_________________________
http://thefloridasteampunker.blogspot.com/
Contributing Writer, The New Artemis.

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#106560 - 09/21/07 06:06 PM Re: Deadly Amoeba Lurks in Florida Lakes [Re: IzzyJG99]
picard120 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 07/10/05
Posts: 763
why can't the health department introduce other bacteria into the water that will kill this amoeba?

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#106565 - 09/21/07 06:34 PM Re: Deadly Amoeba Lurks in Florida Lakes [Re: picard120]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1914
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
Amoeba generally digest bacteria, so it unlikely to work.

Pete

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#106595 - 09/21/07 09:39 PM Re: Deadly Amoeba Lurks in Florida Lakes [Re: paramedicpete]
Stretch Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 707
Loc: Alamogordo, NM
Does this not affect adults? and....other kids?

It seems illogical to me that these three kids were the only ones out in affected waters. Where are the other cases? I'm assuming that I could go to Florida, or at least the area where these amoebi are, and see NO ONE in the water....right?
_________________________
DON'T BE SCARED
-Stretch

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#106602 - 09/21/07 11:03 PM Re: Deadly Amoeba Lurks in Florida Lakes [Re: paramedicpete]
picard120 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 07/10/05
Posts: 763
Originally Posted By: paramedicpete
Amoeba generally digest bacteria, so it unlikely to work.

Pete


nature always has other predator bacteria species that eat this amoeba. why can't we use them? there are must be numerous types of bacteria.

Our lives can't be crippled by a single species of amoeba. I am aware the amoeba always exist in lakes but other reasons must have trigger this problem. the rise in temperature can't be the only source for the increase of the amoeba. Nature has checks and balances for every species. What happened to the other bacteria that prey upon this amoeba species?

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#106605 - 09/22/07 12:22 AM Re: Deadly Amoeba Lurks in Florida Lakes [Re: picard120]
RayW Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/01
Posts: 543
Loc: Orlando, FL
From what i remember the amoeba is always in the water. It is more active in warmer water and when the water is warmer, swimmers are more plentiful. But getting a snoot full of amoeba is still a very rare occurrence which is why you hear about it on the news. From the last data that i have seen Florida averages around 465 drownings a year. That is double the national average. Drownings happen on a regular basis down here so it might make a little blurb on the local news, die by amoeba or alligator and it will make the national news because it doesn't happen often.

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#106611 - 09/22/07 01:09 AM Re: Deadly Amoeba Lurks in Florida Lakes [Re: RayW]
IzzyJG99 Offline
Geezer

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 5027
Ray, they have the Amoeba here in our two ponds. But because they're stocked and chemically treated it never gets out of control. I asked the guy from Aquatic Systems Management (They're that company in Seminole County who'll stock and clean ponds for you) about it today (They come weekly) and he said it's really a harmless amoeba if you're not sucking in water constantly.
_________________________
http://thefloridasteampunker.blogspot.com/
Contributing Writer, The New Artemis.

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