ORLANDO, Fla.- A south florida teen is recovering in Orlando from an amoeba infection. Sebastian DeLeon, a 16-year old camp counselor, was vacationing in Orlando when he suddenly got a severe headache.
The headache was so bad he wouldn’t let anyone touch him. His parents rushed him to Florida Hospital for Children on August 7. There doctors diagnosed him with a rare, brain-eating amoeba.
ER Dr. Dennis Hernandez told the Orlando Sentinel that it was a “divine intervention and gut instinct” that led them to the diagnosis. Naegleria fowleri, the amoeba infection, kills 97 percent of the people it inhabits.
Thankfully the manufacturer of the drug used to treat this amoeba is located in Orlando. The manufacturer got the drug to the hospital in 12 minutes.
A news conference was held Tuesday morning where DeLeon’s parents and doctors said Sebastian was still recovering in the hospital, but is ready to be discharged. They also shared their experience with the rare, brain-eating amoeba. DeLeon was expected to share his experience with the infection as well at the news conference.
DeLeon was infected after swimming in contaminated water on private property in Broward County, said health officials.
The amoeba goes up the nose to the person’s brain then to their spinal cord and is most common during swimming, diving, water skiing, etc.
The amoeba is at it’s highest population during hot weather and lives in lakes, rivers, and hot springs worldwide.
The earliest signs of an infection include: severe headaches, vomiting and fever, which then can turn into stiff neck and seizures and possibly a coma.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 138 cases between 1962 and 2015 in the United States.
In 2007 three Central Florida boys died from the infection and in 2014 an 11-year-old Sanford boy died from the amoeba infection as well.