South Korea has detected its first case of infection with the Naegleria fowleri amoeba, also called the “brain-eating amoeba,” which lives in soil and warm water and penetrates into the human brain through the nose, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Monday.
“The KDCA confirmed the infection with the Naegleria fowleri ameba in a deceased patient with brain meningitis, who has recently returned from abroad,” the agency tweeted.
The patient was in Thailand for four months before returning to South Korea on December 10, where he died on December 21 after experiencing headache, fever, vomiting, speech dysfunction and other symptoms.
The disease control agency will investigate the exact route of infection.
The main infection pathway is through a human’s contact with contaminated water. The Naegleria fowleri amoeba can cause a rare brain infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis and is usually fatal.
Image credit: CCO