Health official says deadly infection may be treatable

Tuesday, August 9th 2005, 6:10 am
By: News On 6

Researchers say there might be a new weapon to fight the deadly infection that killed two Tulsa boys last week. Tulsa hospitals now know of the possible new treatment.

6 in the Morning reporter Omar Villafranca says naegleria is caused by an amoeba and it's usually found in warm bodies of fresh water and under-chlorinated pools. If the amoeba gets into the nasal passages, it can be deadly.

The two boys killed by the rare infection played at a splash pad at Mohawk Park. And the boys might have also played in other nearby water. Officials believe two small, stagnant ponds next to the pads might be the source of the infection.

The water at the splash pad is chlorinated, but city officials drained the area and took samples of the water near it. Those samples will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta for testing.

Now a researcher at Oklahoma State University's Center for Health Sciences says a drug might treat the infection. The researcher says Zithromax, which is used to fight other sinus infections, worked the only time it was used in treatment.

Until doctors are certain, health officials urge parents of children who played recently at the Mohawk Park Splash pad to be aware of symptoms of naegleria. Those symptoms are headaches, nausea, vomiting and a stiff neck.