Swimmer, 59, dies from a rare brain-eating parasite after visiting Fantasy Lake Water Park in North Carolina
- Husband and father Eddie Gray died after swimming at Fantasy Lake Water Park
- Mr Gray, 59, contracted the rare but deadly parasite known as Naegleria fowleri
- Mr Gray’s greatest joy was his family and he was a devout Christian
- N. fowleri causes the brain to swell, causing vomiting, delirium and seizures
A swimmer has died from a rare brain-eating parasite after visiting a water park in North Carolina.
Christian family man Eddie Gray, 59, died after he contracted a deadly parasite on what was meant to be a fun day out with friends at Fantasy Lake Water Park.
The operations supervisor fell ill after the trip on July 12, and sought medical help. He died less than two weeks later, on July 22.
Christian family man Eddie Gray, 59, (pictured) died after he contracted a deadly parasite on what was meant to be a fun day out with friends at a water park
Mr Gray contracted the rare. brain-eating parasite after swimming at Fantasy Lake Water Park in North Carolina (pictured)
The amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, causes a brain infection that leads to the destruction of tissue. In its early stages, symptoms may be similar to bacterial meningitis
Samples sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Gray had caught the parasite known as Naegleria fowleri.
The amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, causes a brain infection that leads to the destruction of tissue. In its early stages, symptoms may be similar to bacterial meningitis.
The organism does not cause illness if swallowed, but can be deadly if, as in Mr Gray’s case, forced through the nose.
Mr Gray’s family was his ‘greatest joy’ according to his obituary, and he leaves behind a wife, Beverly, a daughter and two grandchildren.
He spent his spare time kayaking, camping, hunting, fishing and spending time with Beverly, who he was married to for almost 32 years.
His funeral will be held on Sunday.
There are just 145 known cases of Americans being infected by the amoeba between 1962 and 2018.
MailOnline has contacted Fantasy Lake Water Park for comment.
Mr Gray’s family was his ‘greatest joy’ according to his obituary, and he leaves behind a wife, Beverly, a daughter and two grandchildren
Mr Gray contracted the rare. brain-eating parasite after swimming at Fantasy Lake Water Park in North Carolina (Pictured: Naegleria fowleri)
The illness caused by the parasite, known as PAM, is almost universally fatal and is triggered by water containing the amoeba entering the nose during swimming, according to the study by researchers from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
N. fowleri travels to the brain via the olfactory nerve and passes through a porous bone between the sinuses and the brain, where it breaks down nerve cells.
This causes the brain to swell, causing symptoms including vomiting, delirium and seizures.
In 2015 , the first confirmed case of a human contracting a brain-eating amoeba though tap water was revealed in a medical journal.
A four-year-old boy from Louisiana picked up the deadly Naegleria fowleri while playing on a homemade water slide.
California woman Kelsey McClain, 24, passed away after a brain-eating amoeba left her brain dead after entering her nose while she was swimming in the Colorado River in 2016.
There is currently no known cure for the amoeba.
WHAT IS A BRAIN-EATING AMOEBA?
Naegleria fowleri is commonly referred to as the ‘brain-eating amoeba’ as it can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).
But the infection is very rare, and according to the CDC, there have been about 35 cases reported in the U.S. in the last decade.
The single-celled organism is commonly found in warm freshwater, such as lakes, rivers, and hot springs, as well as in soil.
It usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose. Once the amoeba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM, which is usually fatal.
Infection typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers.
In very rare instances, Naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated and contaminated tap water) enters the nose.
You cannot get infected from swallowing water contaminated with Naegleria.