Tests have confirmed that a six-year-old boy in Ho Chi Minh City was the second victim of a brain-eating amoeba, but it is not known where he contracted it.
Speaking to Thanh Nien Thursday, Dr Phan Van Hieu, director of the HCMC Center for Forensic Science, said all the tests so far have turned up the presence of the amoeba Naegleria fowleri, which causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.
An autopsy found that the boy, referred to only as L.T.T, had a brain abscess caused by a bacterial or fungal infection.
Earlier, on Tuesday, Tran Thanh Duong, deputy chief of the Department of Preventive Health, also said that L.'s was the second case of its kind in Vietnam.
The amoeba lives in fresh-water bodies and soil. But unlike the first victim, a 27-year-old man who fell sick soon after swimming in a lake in the central province of Phu Yen, the boy did not come into contact with any water body.
In fact, he had stayed at home for more than a year since breaking a leg in an accident, according to HCMC health authorities.
When L. was hospitalized on August 12 his heart and breathing had stopped and his body had turned blue, according to authorities.
For a week prior to that he had been hitting his head on the floor and had a fever.
A woman hired by his parents to take care of him told authorities that she gave him porridge and boiled tap water.
The city Department of Health said it is waiting for the results of a battery of tests to determine where the boy had contracted the amoeba.
After the first case the department had stressed that the disease was rare, but warned people to take precautions while swimming in lakes and ponds.
The amoeba penetrates the nasal mucous membrane and enters the brain, causing the disease.
So the department advised people to keep their head above water and use nose clips when swimming, and swab the nose with an antiseptic later.
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