Murrieta firefighter dies from brain-eating amoeba

By | March 14, 2008

brain_eating_amoeba.jpgA veteran Murrieta firefighter has died after being infected with a rare brain-eating amoeba that usually lives in soil, the city Fire Department said in a statement Tuesday. Capt. Matt Moore died Monday at UC San Diego Medical Center Hillcrest from complications of meningoencephalitis. The 43-year-old father of three had been in a coma.”He was one of our best,” said Fire Chief Paul Christman. “We’re going to miss his presence in our ranks greatly.”A funeral cortege returned his body to Murrieta Wednesday. Moore first fell ill in November. A biopsy showed in January that his brain had been invaded by the parasite Balamuthia mandrillaris. The disease was first identified in 1990 after a mandrill baboon at the San Diego Wild Animal park was infected.Doctors aren’t sure how the parasite infects humans, but an infectious-disease expert said it appears that only people with weakened immune systems are at risk.”When you think about the number of people who are exposed to dirt, it’s very, very rare,” said Sharon Reed, a professor of pathology at the University of California, San Diego. “This isn’t cause for huge hysteria.”More than 100 cases have been reported. A 2004 study by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta showed the amoeba is particularly prevalent in California, where at least 11 cases have been reported. Reed said the data may be skewed by the fact that doctors in California are more aware of the disease and therefore likelier to spot its victims.

All but two cases have been fatal, Reed said. The parasite can remain dormant for an unknown period, Reed said. The amoeba typically cluster around blood vessels in the brain and destroy surrounding cells.

“It’s devastating for the families because the outcome is so grim,” Reed said. – SacramentoBee


Balamuthia lives in soil (4) and can enter through the respiratory tract or breaks in the skin. Hispanic Americans may be more likely to reside in agrarian settings with increased exposure to soil and opportunities for contamination of cuts and other injuries. Whether caused by environmental factors, genetic predisposition, access to medical care, or other socioeconomic factors and pressures, the reasons for the higher incidence of BAE in Hispanic Americans warrant further study. – cdc

How do you kill amoeba?

Diloxanide furoate belongs to a group of medicines called amoebicides. It is used to kill amoeba which belongs to a group of organisms known as protozoa. … it kills the amoebas in the bowel (intestinal) lumen but is not effective against organisms in the tissues or other organs in the body. – tiscali

Where do you get this stuff?

Diloxanide furoate is only available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). – mdconsult

2 thoughts on “Murrieta firefighter dies from brain-eating amoeba

  1. Daniela Maria Cordero

    I’ll like to know if is safe to get the water from the water machine that is usually found in the plaza centers for the public, and it cost 35cents to fill up a gallon. Can the brain eating amoeba be found in that drinking water?, some times when I go get the water there the machine is really hot and the water comes out really warm.

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