During their years of training, doctors all over the world have become aware of the famous saying: "If you hear hoof strokes, think horses, not zebras" – meaning that the symptoms of most patients are caused by general ailments or illnesses, and that providers do not consider the possibility of rare or exotic diseases until the more mundane are excluded.
But of course it is sometimes a zebra. And thanks to case study & # 39; s and internet, we introduce people to the most insane, weirdest and most challenging medical problems that doctors face. And because this year is almost over, we at IFLScience think it's time to look back on the most disturbing medical stories of 2018.
Young man dies of brain apasite contracted in water park
In September, a New Jersey resident, Fabrizio Stabile, died of an infection with the "brain-eating amoeba" Naegleria fowleri. The team that treated Mr. Stabile – who presented the hospital with a severe headache, fever, lack of motor control and confusion – followed the amoeba back to a Waco, Texas, swimming pool surf park that the man had visited several days earlier.
When Stabile was first admitted, its symptoms immediately pointed to bacterial meningitis, so they started an intensive regimen of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, while conducting a series of tests to determine which microorganism was responsible. Four days later a cerebrospinal fluid test came back positive Naegleria fowleribut by then Stabile had suffered too much brain damage for doctors to try a specialized treatment. He died the next day.
Primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), as this disease is called, is both very fatal and incredibly rare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that only 143 cases (144 if you count Mr. Stabile) have been documented in the United States. Approximately 98 percent of these people died.
However, our frequent contact with the amoeba is usually unobtrusive because it does not have any harmful effects if it is ingested by accident. PAM can only occur when the organism is inserted into the nerve tissue via the nose and sinuses. This is why you should always hold your nose when swimming in fresh water and never, ever, wash out your sinuses with non-sterilized water.