Both kids caught meningitis from the terrifying and tiny amoeba called Naegleria fowleri.
Courtney Nash, 16, died after swimming in a river in Florida, just days after Christian Strickland, nine, from Virginia was killed by the same deadly amoeba!
Naegleria fowleri quickly travels through the body destroying brain tissue — and experts warn there’s the risk of an epidemic in Virgina, where Christian picked up the parasite on a fishing camp on August 5.
Dr Keri Hall, state epidemiologist at the Virginia Department of Health, says, “Sadly, we have had a Naegleria infection in Virginia this summer. It’s important that people be aware of … safe swimming messages.’
Courtney Nash caught Naegleria fowleri when she dived into St. John’s River with family members. She died this week.
Her grieving relatives are taking comfort from the fact she signed up as an organ donor shortly before her death. Her mom Patricia says, “I didn’t get my miracle, but she has performed other miracles. If we can save other people’s lives so they don’t have to go through what I just went though, this could be a blessing in disguise.”
So far, both her lungs, her liver and pancreas have been transplanted.
Officials are, meanwhile, warning swimmers to take care in freshwater, by holding their nose or wearing a nose plug when they dive in — and to seek medical attention if they experience headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance and bodily control, seizures and hallucinations.
Stay safe, HollyMoms!
– Ian Garland
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