Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



CDC Frees Up Drug That Fights Brain-Eating Amoeba

CDC Frees Up Drug That Fights Brain-Eating Amoeba

08/22/13

THURSDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Miltefosine, a potentially life-saving experimental drug to treat people infected with a rare but deadly brain-eating amoeba, is now available to U.S. doctors directly from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency announced Thursday.

The infection has made headlines recently with cases involving two U.S. children who contracted the amoebic infection while swimming or playing in freshwater.

Both have survived a highly fatal condition called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which stems from infection with the Naegleria fowleriamoeba. Even though they have survived, both children remain very ill.

In a Facebook posting on Wednesday, the family of a stricken Florida 12-year-old, Zachary Reyna, said that antibiotic treatment has beaten the infection, with tests showing no activity from the amoeba. However, the family Facebook posting added, "we know the battle is not over. Extensive damage was done to his brain and we need to pray for any form of activity to come from his brain," the Associated Pressreported.

In Arkansas, a 12-year-old girl developed PAM after contracting the amoeba while swimming at a water park in Little Rock. However, in a family Facebook page posting, the family of Kali Hardig said the girl is showing signs of recovery. On Monday, the Facebook page mentioned that Kali said "Hi Mama" to her mother Traci Hardig, ABC Newsreported.

According to the CDC, only two other people in North America are known to have survived this infection.

In a statement released Thursday in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC said that miltefosine has shown promise against Naegleria fowleriand other free-living amoebae.

However, because miltefosine is an experimental drug, its availability was limited. The CDC has now implemented an expanded access investigational new drug protocol with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make miltefosine available directly from the CDC.

Doctors who believe they have a patient with an infection caused by a so-called "free-living amoeba" who could benefit from treatment with miltefosine should contact the CDC to consult with an expert in these cases.

N. fowlerienters the body through the nose and travels to the brain, and the infection typically occurs in people who have been swimming in warm freshwater.

In the case of Reyna, it is thought that he contracted the amoeba while knee-boarding in a ditch of standing water. The park in which Hardig is thought to have gotten infected has since been closed, ABC Newssaid.

Cases of N. fowleriinfection are extremely rare. Between 2001 and 2010, there were 32 reported cases in the United States, according to the CDC. Most of the cases occurred in the Southeast.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about Naegleria fowleri.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Hospital First in Region to Use New da Vinci Xi Surgical System
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >