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Monday February 26, 2024

10-year-old succumbs to brain-eating amoeba contracted from swimming pool

Initially treated for a suspected ear infection, her discomfort alleviated upon returning home

By Web Desk
December 03, 2023
Stefanía Villamizar González died from a brain-eating bug she contracted during a family holiday.— Jam Press
Stefanía Villamizar González died from a brain-eating bug she contracted during a family holiday.— Jam Press

A 10-year-old Colombian girl, Stefanía Villamizar González, died after reportedly contracting a brain-eating amoeba from a swimming pool during a family holiday, Daily Mail reported.  

The young girl developed initial symptoms, including ear pain, fever, and vomiting, just two days into the vacation. Initially treated for a suspected ear infection, her discomfort alleviated upon returning home, only to resurface two weeks later with severe consequences.

Two weeks after the onset of symptoms, Stefanía faced a sudden deterioration in her health, struggling to get out of bed and experiencing convulsions. Rushed to a nearby hospital, she underwent strict medical care for more than three weeks until her untimely death. 

Following an extensive investigation, experts identified the cause of death as amoebic encephalitis, a rare and fatal central nervous system infection, with a 95 percent mortality rate. The culprit is Naegleria fowleri, the "brain-eating amoeba," often found in poorly managed pools or stagnant water.

Devastated by the loss, Tatiana González, Stefanía's mother, believes her daughter contracted the infection through her nose while playing in the water in Santa Marta, Colombia, during their June holiday. 

Describing Stefanía as a talented tennis player, skater, ballet dancer, and aspiring gymnast, the family is shattered, sharing their story to raise awareness and prevent similar tragedies for other children and families.

Expressing their devastation, a close relative stated, "We are destroyed, devastated." The operations manager of the hotel, where Stefanía is believed to have contracted the amoeba, has committed to reinforcing safety standards. 

However, no mention of criminal charges has been reported in local media.