Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020

Gardener’s brain ‘turned to liquid’ by flesh-eating killer pot plant bug

A keen gardener was killed by a horror infection from his pot plant which turned his brain into a mushy liquid.

The green-fingered victim was exposed to contaminated soil as he went about his favourite hobby.

He felt weak for two weeks before he was admitted to hospital as the deadly bug took over his brain.

It was caused by so-called free-living amoebas which are commonly found in soil.

The man, 82, went to hospital where medics ran brain scans. A day after he was admitted he became totally weak on the right side of his body and developed an “altered mental status”, researchers from Emory University in Atlanta wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

He later sadly died. The patient also had a history of B-cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, but had been in remission for more than a decade.

The patient.info site describes how the free living amoeba kill people: "Free-living amoebae cause rare but devastating disease. They are able to exist as free-living organisms in nature and only occasionally invade a host and live as parasites within host tissue.

"The lack of established success in treatment means that there is no single, proven, evidence-based treatment that carries a high probability of cure.

"Most cases are not identified until post-mortem, due to the lack of good and reliable diagnostic tests and secondary infections being more common."

Symptoms include headaches, altered mental status, fever, lethargy, nausea and vomiting and occasionally psychosis, which progresses over several weeks until death.

It comes after a man almost died from a flesh-eating bug he caught from a cut on his big toe.

Robbie Walsh was told he had a one in four chance of surviving the bug which he contracted from a small cut on his toe.

The 36-year-old from Cork, Ireland, was told that in the best-case scenario, he would lose his leg to the rare disease called Necrotizing Fasciitis.

However, doctors at the Mercy Hospital worked tirelessly and were able to save his limb, CorkBeo reports.

What started out as a tiny cut on his toe which he thought nothing of, turned in to Robbie fighting for his life.

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