Friday 5 August 2022 11:19 PM Florida student, 22, said disease left him with brain damage and underweight trends now
A student in Florida was left unable to walk up stairs and write after a deadly brain-eating amoeba that he caught from 'cannon-balling' into a stagnant pond left him underweight and brain damaged.
Sebastian Deleon, now 22, from Weston in Florida, has revealed his experience after catching the brain-eating amoeba — scientifically named Naegleria fowleri. He said it initially left him with a severe headache, before he became sensitive to the sun and struggled to get up. He is one of the lucky four to survive the infection out of 154 known cases
Sebastian Deleon, now 22, from Weston, is one of a lucky four people to survive an infection with the amoeba — named Naegleria fowleri — out of 154 recorded cases in the United States. He was infected six years ago at the age of 16.
In the early stages, he was struck down with a severe headache that felt like a smooth rock was 'pushing down' on his head. It quickly left him unable to get up and needing sunglasses 'even when the sun wasn't out', prompting his parents to rush him to hospital.
Once there doctors put him on seven antibiotics and into an induced coma. When he came round about a week later, he needed some three weeks in rehabilitation to regain much of his strength.
Experts are calling on Americans to be aware of the amoeba that lurks in waterways throughout the country, saying global warming — heating stagnant pools further north in the country — makes it a risk in other areas.
After being in a coma for about a week, Deleon was transferred to a rehabilitation center to help regain his strength. He is pictured here learning how to walk up and down stairs again
Pictured above is him strengthening his legs at the rehabilitation center called Joe Dimaggio's Children's Rehabilitation Center in Hollywood, Florida
Doctors diagnosed him with the brain-eating amoeba after tests of his brain showed that he had been infected (Pictured above are amoeba that had infected him)
Deleon was rushed to hospital by his parents in 2016 (pictured above) after he starting suffering a severe headache
Revealing how he battled the amoeba in 2016, Deleon told ClickOrlando: 'For the first couple of years, it was kind of hard.
'The part that I most remember is the part that I was in rehab. It was tough, I had to, like, learn how to walk, how to write again, how to do all the basic stuff again.'
Primary amebic meningoencephalitis is a rare and usually fatal brain infection.
It is triggered the amoeba Naegleria fowleri, which enters the body when it is taken in through the nose.
Once an infection is established, it spreads up nerves to the brain where it destroys tissue.
Patients initially experience a headache, fever, nausea and vomiting.
But in the later stages they can also face hallucinations and seizures.
About 97 percent of people who become infected with the amoeba die from the disease.
Symptoms began days after being infected while he was visiting theme parks in nearby Orlando with his parents.
Initially, he had a severe headache. But, he said: 'This headache was different. It felt more like — the description that I kept saying at the hospital was that it felt like there was a smooth rock on top of my head, and someone was pushing it down.'
It then became so severe that: 'I couldn't get up, and I couldn't move around and stuff like that, so my parents were like, "OK, there's something wrong with this boy. We need to