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A US toddler has tragically died from a rare disease caused by a brain-eating amoeba, after falling ill last week.
Woodrow Bundy, aged two, died on July 19, after coming down with flu-like symptoms seven days ago.
The youngster’s family believe he caught the disease while swimming in Ash Springs, Nevada.
His mother, Briana Bundy, said medics initially diagnosed her child with meningitis, as they battled to save his life.
However the family were given the news that Woodrow had contracted primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which has a 97 percent fatality rate.
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The disease is caused by a brain-eating amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri, which thrives in warm water.
Taking to Facebook to break the news of the death of her son, Briana wrote: “Woodrow Turner Bundy returned victoriously to our father in heaven at 2:56am.
“He fought 7 days. The longest any person has survived on record is 3. I knew I had the strongest son in the world.
“He is my hero and I will be forever grateful to God for giving me the goodest [sic.] baby boy on earth, and I am grateful to know that I will have that boy in heaven someday.”
Woodrow’s aunt said he had brought joy to everyone who had come into contact with him.
She added: “Thank you everyone for your prayers…as we all know, in these times that the mourning process is almost unbearable sometimes.
“PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE continue to pray for my brother in law, Mel and my sister in law, Briana….please add their sweet hearted 5 girls to your prayers as well.
“They were their brothers little mommas…HE IS THE LIGHT OF THEIR LIVES.
“I look forward to hugging you and kissing those sweet cheeks again. Until we meet again sweet boy.”
Naegleria fowleri was discovered in Australia in 1965, but is believed to have evolved in the USA.
The deadly amoeba loves very warm water and can survive in temperatures as hot as 115F.
It is commonly found in warm lakes, untreated swimming pools and spas, as well as in untreated well water and hot springs.
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When the amoeba enters the human body by the nose, it causes a deadly infection and inflammation of the brain, which eventually destroys brain tissue by “eating” it.
Symptoms include headache and fever, as well as loss of appetite and vomiting.
It takes two to 15 days for symptoms to appear after the amoebas enter the nose.
Death usually occurs three to seven days after symptoms appear. The average time to death is 5.3 days from symptom onset.
Only a handful of patients worldwide are reported to have survived an infection.
Scientists claim that warming temperatures are creating ideal conditions for the amoeba to increasingly thrive in bodies of water across the northern US.
Last August, a child died from an amoeba they allegedly contracted while swimming in a Nebraska river.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by family friend Todd Engel, who said the parents are going to need assistance financially with Woodrow’s funeral arrangements and medical bills.
He wrote: “Mel and Brianna and the girls are my second family. We have been through hell together and now, unfortunately they are having to go through it again.
“Little Woodrow was taken from us in a freak occurrence.”
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