Your Healthy Family

Jul 29, 2013 9:20 AM by Marissa Torres

Hidden health danger in lakes and rivers

A water park in Little Rock is shutdown by the Arkansas Department of Health after a swimmer is diagnosed with Parasitic Meningitis.

The Centers for Disease Control confirmed a case of the rare brain-eating illness last week. A 12-year-old has been recovering in the hospital since then.

Parasitic Meningitis is caused by a parasite that enters the body through the nose, mainly when a person goes swimming in warm freshwater places like a river or lake. The sickness travels to the brain - where it destroys brain tissue.

The health department says symptoms of parasitic meningitis include vomiting - stiff neck - headache - and fever.

"I think it's important for the general public to realize that this is an exceedingly rare infection, that we're not worried about other lakes being a focus of this infection," says Dr. Dirk Haselow, with the Arkansas Department of Health.

To prevent Parasitic Meningitis, The Centers for Disease Control says to avoid warm freshwater, like lakes or rivers, during periods of high water temperature and low water levels. Also hold the nose shut or use nose clips when swimming, and people should also avoid digging in or stirring up the sediment in shallow areas.



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