9-year-old girl dies from brain-eating amoeba

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A 9-year-old Kansas girl died Wednesday after contracting a rare, brain-eating amoeba, according to news reports. 

Hally Yust contracted an infection called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, commonly referred to as a brain-eating amoeba and almost always fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a report by The Weather Channel.

“Infection typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places like lakes and rivers,” said the CDC, which also notes that because the amoeba grows better at higher temperatures, infections are more likely in the summer and in Southern states such as Texas and Florida. The amoeba enters through the nose.

According to The Associated Press, Hally’s is the second known case of a person contracting the infection in Kansas. Fewer than 200 cases have been reported in the U.S. in the past 50 years.

“You are more likely to die from drowning than you are from ever dying from this organism. It’s like one in a billion. This girl’s one in a billion,” Shon Yust, Hally’s father, said on Fox4KC.

Symptoms usually appear five days after infection and include headache, fever, nausea, a stiff neck and confusion. One way to guard against the infection is to wear nose plugs while swimming or boating, said the CDC. It cannot be spread person to person. 

It has not been determined where Hally contracted the amoeba because she had been swimming in several area lakes, The Weather Channel reported. 


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About the Author

Jennifer Pompi

Jennifer Pompi is a general assignment reporter and afternoon slot editor for The Washington Times. Previously, she worked as an editor for AOL/Patch, covering hyperlocal news in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties in Maryland. She can be reached at jpompi@washingtontimes.com.

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