-- Robert Preidt
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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.
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