Rare Brain-Eating Amoeba Kills Man Who Went Swimming With Church Group

Naegleria fowleri (CDC)
A rare brain-eating amoeba killed a North Carolina man who went swimming at a water park with his church group.

Eddy Gray became sick after swimming at the Fantasy Lake Water Park on July 12, according to a CNN affiliate. He died days later.

A photo on Eddie Gray's Facebook page elicited comments from mourners.

"Rest in Peace Eddie," wrote one commenter. "Prayers for your family and those special grandbabies. I know you will be missed."

Another commented: "Words can never [describe] the love and gratitude everyone had for you. May the Lord be with your family and rest their souls. Until we meet again in that beautiful city!"

The photo depicted Numbers 6:25-26: "May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up His favor upon you and give you His peace."

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Resources determined that the amoeba that killed Gray was Naegleria fowleri. The CDC says this amoeba lives in warm, freshwater sources. And even though it causes no harm if swallowed, it can be deadly if forced up a person's nose.

From the nose, the amoeba travels up to the brain, where it causes an infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).

Initial symptoms of an infection caused by Naegleria fowleri include: severe frontal headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Later on, as the infection worsens, one experiences symptoms such as a stiff neck, seizures, altered mental status, hallucinations and a coma. The diseases is generally fatal, and there are only five known survivors in North America.

Gray's family has asked for privacy at this time.

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