A Georgia high school senior died on July 22 after becoming infected by a rare “brain-eating amoeba,” Fox News reported.
While Georgia health officials announced that a resident had died from the rare brain infection, the identity of the person was not revealed.
But last week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the victim was 17-year-old Megan Ebanroth.
According to the Journal-Constitution, the straight-A student from Dearing, who hoped to attend the University of Georgia in the fall, began suffering from migraines four days after she went swimming with friends in a lake near her home in McDuffie County on July 11.
Her mother took her to urgent care where she was treated for a migraine. But when the migraine worsened, her mother took her to the local ER where Megan was prescribed antibiotics and sent home.
Two days later as Megan’s fever grew worse, her parents took her to the emergency room at Doctor’s Hospital in nearby Augusta where she underwent blood tests and was placed on an IV. When her condition worsened, Megan was transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Georgia where she was intubated.
By July 21, doctors suggested that Megan could have been infected with the brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri. The following day, she was dead.
The Naegleria fowleri amoeba is found in warm, freshwater rivers, ponds, lakes, and hot springs. Typically called the “brain-eating amoeba,” Naegleria fowleri enters the brain through the nose causing Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM), according to the Georgia Department of Health.
Symptoms occur about five days after infection, starting with severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Symptoms then progress to neck stiffness, seizures, and coma, often leading to death.
Megan was the president of the Beta Club and vice president of the Spanish Club at her school. She was also a member of the school’s tennis team, the Journal-Constitution reported.