According to a recent health report, two Oklahoma (U.S.) children aged 9 and 7 have died after being infected with Naegleria, a parasite associated with swimming in stagnant water.
Naegleria, an amoeba that lives in warm water (especially lakes and ponds), can cause a deadly inflammation of the brain.
The boys, who lived in the Tulsa (Oklahoma)) area, had symptoms of fever, hallucinations, and headaches according to health department records. Although the boys did not know each other and appear to have contracted the disease independently, they were both believed to have recently been swimming in area ponds.
The health department said it will work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to post warning signs if the investigation indicates the boys contracted the infection from a natural body of water.
In addition, three city pools where the boys went swimming were closed for testing. They were reopened after authorities said results indicated appropriate levels of chlorine, which kill off the amoeba, had been maintained.
Since the amoeba enters the body through the nose, people can avoid getting the infection by holding the nose shut or using nose clips and by not swimming in bodies of warm fresh water.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates there are several drugs that have been found to be effective against Naegleria in the laboratory, most actual human infections continue to end in death