Tags: brain-eating | amoeba | anti-parasite | drug

Brain-Eating Amoeba in Teen Beaten With Anti-Parasite Drug

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By    |   Thursday, 25 Aug 2016 08:45 AM

A brain-eating amoeba couldn't get the best of 16-year-old Sebastian DeLeon. Doctors in Florida put the teen in a coma and then gave him with a lifesaving drug that made him one of the few survivors of the dreaded parasite.

DeLeon is believed to have contracted the amoeba, known as Naegleria fowleri, while swimming on private property in Broward County in early August.

He was saved through the benefit of good hunches by doctors and a bit of good fortune, said the Orlando Sentinel.

DeLeon was vacationing with his family in Orlando and two days later he developed a headache and couldn't stand anyone touching him.

He was taken to Florida Hospital for Children where Dr. Dennis Hernandez diagnosed him with a migraine, but decided to get a spinal fluid sample from the teen on a hunch.

"(Call it) divine intervention and a gut instinct," Hernandez told the Sentinel.

Sheila Black, a laboratory coordinator, said she needed a second look at DeLeon's spinal fluid under a microscope before spotting the Naegleria fowleri trying to blend in with the white blood cells.

Naegleria fowleri is rare, but almost always fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of the 138 known cases in the United States from 1862 to 2015, 97 percent of those contracting the parasite have died.

Doctors induced a coma and lowered DeLeon's body temperature to 33 degrees in hopes of keeping the parasite from causing damage to the brain, said NBC News.

Doctors needed to treat the teenager an anti-parasite drug made by only one manufacturer in the United States, but again, good fortune shined on DeLeon because that company, Profounda, is based in Orlando and transported the drug to the hospital in 12 minutes.

After being in a coma for 72 hours, he was awakened and his breathing tube removed. The teenager was still weak, but he was walking and talking, said the Sentinel. Doctors said it was hard to judge his progress because there have been so few survivors.

"We are so thankful that God has given us the miracle through this medical team and this hospital," DeLeon's mother, Brunilda Gonzalez, told a news conference, per NBC News.

DeLeon's protocol was based on another case in Arkansas. Kali Hardig, then 12, was infected with the parasite at a water park in 2013 and survived after similar treatment.

Doctors told NBC News that DeLeon was expected to make a full recovery but will still need several more weeks of medication and rehab.

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A brain-eating amoeba couldn't get the best of 16-year-old Sebastian DeLeon. Doctors in Florida put the teen in a coma and then gave him with a lifesaving drug that made him one of the few survivors of the dreaded parasite.
brain-eating, amoeba, anti-parasite, drug
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2016-45-25
Thursday, 25 Aug 2016 08:45 AM
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