Child dies from suspected ‘brain-eating ameba’ after swimming in river near Omaha

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A child died after potentially being infected by a “brain-eating ameba” from a river near Omaha.

The Douglas County Health Department says the child was possibly infected with Naegleria Fowleri after swimming in the Elkhorn River on Sunday.

Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to confirm the case.

The infection is typically called the “brain-eating ameba,” according to the CDC.

Only about three people in the United States get infected each year, the CDC said.

This case would be the first in Nebraska’s history, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The Douglas County Health Department is now asking people to take precautions at freshwater sources like rivers, lakes and streams.

Naegleria Fowleri can infect people when water enters the body through the nose while swimming or diving.

Symptoms can begin 1 to 12 days after infection and may include headache, fever, nausea or vomiting.

The department said death occurs in 97% of cases within about five days of symptoms showing.

“We can only imagine the devastation this family must be feeling, and our deepest condolences are with them,” Health Director Lindsay Huse said. “We can honor the memory of this child by becoming educated about the risk and then taking steps to prevent infection.”

The department will hold a press conference on Thursday regarding the suspected infection.

More information on Naegleria Fowleri can be found here.

Categories: Nebraska News, News