WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Naegleria fowleri is a parasitic amoeba that lives on warm lakes, creeks, and pools that enters through the nose when swimming and causes brain infection.
- There is still no cure for the brain infection from the deadly amoeba.
- 13-year old Tanner Lake Wall developed pretty bad headaches, nausea, and vomiting after a vacation where they swam on the camp’s lake and water park.
A Florida family is now sharing the sad story of their son’s death from Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba that is found in contaminated pools or freshwater lakes that enters a person’s body through the nose and causes a rare brain infection that has no known cure.
Let Tanner Lake Wall’s story be a warning and a wake-up call for all those who want to enjoy the warm lake water during late summer or at pools which can be contaminated.
Travis, Tanner’s dad said, “People need to be aware from July to the latter part of September, with the hot waters, that this amoeba, it can come up your nose. It can be diving. It can be swimming, water sports, skiing, things like that.”
Tanner, 13, “was very active. He loved the outdoors. He loves hunting, fishing” his mom Alicia said.
To his dad, Travis, “He was just somebody you always wanted to be around.”
It was after they came home from a camping vacation where they enjoyed swimming at the facility’s lake and waterpark that Tanner started having “nausea, vomiting, pretty bad headaches,” says his Travis.
They took him to a medical center which diagnosed him with a sore throat but Alicia and Travis had a feeling that it was more than that.
As Travis recalled, “I got pretty irate. [Alicia] was irate at this point. I said, ‘You know what? Unhook him. Do whatever you need to do. We will transport him ourselves. I’m standing at the front door. Come outside. We will take him where we have to go.’ ”
They took Tanner to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, where they found out the true cause and diagnosis: the deadly parasite Naegleria fowleri.
Travis added, “They said, ‘We’re sorry to tell you this, but your son does not have bacterial meningitis. He has a parasitic amoeba, and there is no cure,’ ”
Tanner was immediately put on life support by the doctors but registered no brain activity. That is when Travis and Alicia made the difficult decision to take Tanner off life support. A few hours after, Tanner expired.
Travis and Alicia are now raising awareness of the dangers that swimming in ponds, creeks, and pools pose. They have suggested that swimming facilities post warning signs “so parents are aware.”