(LOOGOOTEE) - A Loogootee man says the death of a Kansas girl is why he will keep spreading the word about a brain-eating amoeba that thrives in warm, fresh water.
John Abel's son, Waylon, was playing with his children at West Boggs Lake near Loogootee, when he got water up his nose. The amoeba travels through very thin tenry portals into the central nervous system. Its victim are usually dead within a few days.
Dr. Paul Schulz, an infectious disease expert with Norton Healthcare says that is the big problem, if physicians don't recognize the organism quickly and start therapy the mortality rate is 100 percent, overall 99 percent.
The problem is symptoms mimic bacterial meningitis.
Abel says at first physicians thought his son was suffering from allergies, because it was effecting his eyes. But then he developed severe headaches, neck and back pain and vomiting.
The second diagnosis was viral meningitis. The 30-year-old died August 7, 2012 - three days after being hospitalized.
An autopsy and review of the findings by the CDC determined it was the brain-eating amoeba.
The CDC says the amoeba grows in warm lakes, ponds and slow moving rivers and even swimming pools.
The latest victim was 9-year-old Hally Yust, of Kansas. Yust, an avid water-skier died three weeks ago.
John Abel has become an activist, passing out fliers at West Boggs Lake, urging Indiana to post warning signs, especially in July and August.
Prevention is as simple as nose plugs.
Schulz said while two or three deaths may be reported in the U.S. from brain eating amoeba each year, almost 4,000 people drown each year.
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