Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

CDC Frees Up Drug That Fights Brain-Eating Amoeba

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 the Naegleria fowleri amoeba. 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 Associated Press reported.

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, ABC News reported.

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 fowleri and 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 CDC.

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. fowleri enters 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 closed, ABC News said.

Cases of N. fowleri infection 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.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about Naegleria fowleri.

SOURCES: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, news release, Aug. 22, 2013; Aug. 21, 2013, Associated Press; Aug. 21, 2013, ABC News

Reviewed Date: --

Find a pediatrician
Infectious Diseases
Kenji Cunnion, MD
Randall Fisher, MD
Laura Sass, MD
Neurology
L. Matthew Frank, MD
Ingrid Loma-Miller, MD
Ralph Northam, MD
Svinder Toor, MD
Larry White, MD
Health Tips
Growing Up Short or Heavy Can Be Difficult
Helping Children Conquer Fear
How Old Is 'Old Enough' for Contacts?
How to Prevent Childhood Obesity
Kids' Health Concerns Ease with Age
What Kids Drink Is Important, Too
When Your Child Says, 'I'm Sick'
Diseases & Conditions
AIDS/HIV in Children
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma and Children
Asthma in Children Index
Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Bipolar Disorder in Children
Bone Marrow Transplantation in Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Diphtheria in Children
During an Asthma Attack
Ewing Sarcoma
Firearms
Gynecological Infections
Hepatitis B (HBV) in Children
Infection in Babies
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Meningitis in Children
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Muscular Dystrophy
Myasthenia Gravis in Children
Osteosarcoma in Children
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Poliomyelitis (Polio) in Children
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries Overview
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Heart
The Kidneys
Vision Overview
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.