Seven-year-old boy dies after contracting rare brain-eating parasite at California lake
- David Pruitt, seven, died from Naegleria fowleri on July 30, his family said
- He is believed to have contracted the parasite from a lake in Tehama County
- David’s death comes just a year after a six-year-old boy died in Texas from the exact same strain
- Naegleria fowleri infections are rare, according to the CDC, with only 34 infections reported in the US from 2010 to 2019
A seven-year-old boy has died after contracting a rare, brain-eating waterborne parasite from a lake in California late last month.
David Pruitt, died from primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, otherwise known as PAM, on July 30 after being hospitalized the same day in his native Tehama County, his aunt Crystal Hayley told CBS News.
Pruitt’s family confirmed the boy’s death on August 7.
‘We are sad and broken-hearted to report that our sweet little David has passed on,’ the family wrote on GoFundMe.
‘He is now in the loving arms of our Lord and family members who have passed before him. We are rejoicing in knowing he is no longer in pain and in the best of care.’
The parasite in question, called Naegleria fowleri, is typically contracted once contaminated water enters the body via the nose, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
David Pruitt (pictured) died after being hospitalized on July 30 for a rare brain-eating parasite
Naegleria fowleri (pictured) is typically contracted once contaminated water enters the body via the nose, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Preventio
The deadly amoeba is often found in warm fresh bodied of water such as rivers or lakes, however several cases have been reported while swimming in poorly-treated pools.
‘Once the amoeba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM, which is usually fatal,’ it said.
The CDC reports that those who contract the parasite initially suffer from severe headaches, nausea and vomiting. Those who have contracted it have also reported a stiff neck and even hallucinations and seizures as the infection worsens.
Hayley added that the family ‘wants people to be aware of this amoeba and the illness signs.’
David’s death came almost a year after a six-year-old Texas boy, Josiah McIntyre, died in September 2020 after contracting the same strain of parasite at either the Lake Jackson splashpad or a hose at his family’s home, CBS News reported at the time.
Josiah McIntyre (pictured) was just six when he contracted the same deadly parasite as David Pruitt in September 2020
Three samples of contaminated water taken from the Lake Jackson splashpad were tested by the CDC two weeks after McIntyre’s death, and all three ultimately tested positive for the deadly bacteria.
At a benefit days after McIntyre’s tragic passing, his mother recounted the life her boy lived.
‘He was an active little boy,’ Maria Castillo told CNN at the time. ‘He was a really good big brother. He just loved and cared about a lot of people.’
Naegleria fowleri infections are rare, according to the CDC, with only 34 infections reported in the US from 2010 to 2019.
And in California, there have only been 10 reported cases since 1971, according to an August 4 press release by Tehama County Health Services Agency.
The City of Lake Jackson’s Sept. 2020 press release following the death of 6-year-old Josiah McIntyre