LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A family is grieving the loss of a 2-year-old boy who passed away from a rare brain-eating amoeba.
Woodrow Bundy died Wednesday morning. Those close to his family told News 2’s sister station, KLAS, he was being treated at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas.
They said he contracted the brain-eating amoeba, also known as Naegleria fowleri, a few weeks ago while swimming in Ash Springs, which is near Alamo, located about 100 miles north of Las Vegas.
According to the family, who recently moved to Alamo from Mesquite, Woodrow’s health began spiraling last week when he experienced flu-like symptoms.
“We have medications that we can use against these types of diseases, but by the time we find it, it’s usually progressed pretty far,” Dr. Brian Labus, epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Public Health, said.
Dr. Labus said the brain-eating amoeba thrives in warm water, such as hot springs. The organism gets in a person’s nose, makes its way to the brain, and then destroys brain tissue.
“About five days or so after you’re exposed is when most people start to develop the symptoms,” Labus said. “It starts with a fever. Generally, not feeling well because you’re starting to get an infection in your brain.”
Last October, a boy died from the same brain-eating amoeba after he contracted it swimming in Lake Mead in the Kingman Wash area.
Nonetheless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deems this disease as rare. It is so rare in fact, that over nine years, there have been only 29 infections in the US, according to the CDC.
“This is why we have warnings at hot springs that people should take steps to protect themselves,” Labus said.
This disease cannot spread from person to person.
Family and friends have set up a GoFundMe to help pay for Woodrow’s funeral.