Illness & Symptoms
Balamuthia infection is a rare and serious illness. The Balamuthia amebas can infect the skin, brain and other organs of the body. Therefore, Balamuthia infection can cause a wide range of symptoms. Disease can begin with a skin wound on the face, trunk, or limbs and can then progress to the brain where it causes a disease called granulomatous amebic encephalitis (GAE).
Diagnosis of Balamuthia GAE can be difficult because symptoms are not specific to GAE. Early symptoms might include:
Other signs of Balamuthia GAE might include:
- Mental health changes
- Partial paralysis
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty walking
The disease might appear mild at first but can become more severe over weeks to several months. Often the disease is fatal, with a 90% death rate. Overall, the outlook for people who get this disease is poor, although early diagnosis and treatment may increase the chances for survival.