Kansas Girl Succumbs to Brain Eating Amoeba
A nine-year old girl in Kansas has succumbed to a rare brain eating amoeba. Hally Yust was fond of water activities and likely contracted deadly Naegleria fowleri from exposure to a fresh water source such as a lake or river. Yust was recently hospitalized after experiencing symptoms commonly associated with meningitis. Over the past 50 years, less than 200 cases of this type of deadly brain eating amoeba have been reported throughout the United States, indicating just how rare and uncommon this condition is.
Officials from the county health department report that since the young swimmer had recent exposure to several different bodies of water, it has been very difficult to determine exactly where she was exposed to water containing the deadly amoeba. The amoeba takes a swift path traveling up the nostrils of the individual, eventually settling in the brain where it works to destroy the tissue there. There is no known cure for this particular condition and only one individual who contracted Naegleria fowleri has ever recovered from it.
Hally’s mother, Jenny Yust, recalled her daughter as being a dynamic person who was also interesting and fantastic. She believes that God needed Hally more in heaven than her parents needed her here on earth. Mrs. and Mrs.
Yust said that they hoped news of their daughter’s tragic passing would not discourage other water lovers from avoiding natural bodies of water for recreation because her daughter got such joy from participating in water sports.
“We want you to know this tragic event is very, very rare and this is not something to be fearful about,” the Yusts, of Spring Hill, said in a Friday statement, WDAF-TV reported.
“Our family is very active in water sports, and we will continue to be.”
Health officials say that individuals who plan to continue frequenting such natural bodies of water as lakes should take precautions and wear noseplugs while in the water to help greatly decrease the risk of the amoeba travelling up from their sinuses and into the brain. The Yusts have established a memorial scholarship honoring Hally.
While exceedingly rare, Naegleria fowleri infections are almost always fatal. Only one person out of 128 infected in the United States between 1962 and 2012 has survived, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If concerned about Naegleria, avoid swimming, diving or other activities that push water up the nose, especially in natural waters when temperatures are high and water levels are low,” Dr. Dirk Haselow of the Arkansas Department of Health said in a statement.
“After the start of symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death within about five days,” the agency’s website reads.
The Yust family has set up a scholarship in their daughter’s name to provide educational opportunities for girls who love basketball as their daughter did.
“She was smart and beautiful and our angel that we will dearly miss,” Jenny Yust told Fox4KC.
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Kansas Girl Brain Eating Amoeba
9-year-old Kansas girl killed by brain-eating amoeba