First Death From 'Brain-Eating Amoeba' Reported In South Korea

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First Death From ‘Brain-Eating Amoeba’ Reported In South Korea

| Updated: December 27, 2022 16:13

South Korea reported its first case of infection from ‘brain-eating amoeba’ which is also known as Naegleria fowleri, on Monday. After returning from a trip to Thailand, a 50-year-old man from South Korea passed away, as per the authorities. He was infected with Naegleria fowleri, an amoeba that causes a deadly brain infection. 

Naegleria fowleri is a single-celled creature that lives in warm freshwater ponds, lakes, and hot springs. When inhaled through the nose, it can induce a brain infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 4 out of 154 Americans infected between 1962 and 2021 survived. The infection is almost always lethal.

The citizen passed away last Wednesday after spending a week in the hospital, as per the information received from South Korea’s Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). KDCA confirmed the cause of death by conducting genetic tests on three types of pathogens that cause Naegleria fowleri.

PAM is only induced when a virus enters the body through the nose and travels up to the brain via the olfactory nerve. Drinking contaminated water does not lead to infection.

Once infected, the disease progresses rapidly. Severe headaches, fever, nausea, and vomiting describe the initial stage. The infected person may develop hallucinations, convulsions, and go into a coma during the second stage.

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