ZocdocAnswersCan brain-eating amoeba cause opsocionus?

Question

Can brain-eating amoeba cause opsocionus?

My 4 year old niece that lives in Mobile, Alabama has been diagnosed with opsocionus with more tests left to do before conclusive

Answer

I'm assuming that you are asking about opsoclonus, which refers to uncontrollable small fast eye movements. I recommend that you speak with your niece's doctors. You're right that this is a neurological disorder and can be caused by many different conditions, including neuroblastoma, degeneration of the part of the brain called the cerebellum, or infections. The brain-eating amoeba that you've heard about is called Naegleria fowlerei and is found in fresh water ponds, many in the southern United States. Infection occurs only when infected water enters the nose of an individual - it does not occur from drinking contaminated water. The signs and symptoms of a Naegleria infection can be very diverse, including headaches, fevers, nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness, seizures, altered mental status and coma. The important thing for you to know about this infection is that it is almost always fatal and usually progresses fairly rapidly; most people die within 1-12 days after the onset of symptoms. If your niece has had these symptoms for longer than 1-2 weeks, it is very unlikely that this particular infection has caused them. I'm sure that this is a worrisome time for your family and that you have a lot of uncertainty and unanswered questions. Again, I would definitely recommend communicating your concerns to your niece's doctors and discussing your questions with them so that you understand what conditions they are thinking about and how best to care for your niece.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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