Australian parents warn of brain-eating parasite that killed baby boy

When Queensland mum Jodi Keough gave her children hoses to cool down with on a hot day, she had no clue it would lead to the death of her precious baby boy.

49c7026ff26063b321a181d8c3d24360One-year-old Cash died in April this year from what’s being called a “brain-eating parasite” that was thriving in the water at Jodi and Laine Keough’s cattle station, near Townsville.

Little is known about the extraordinarily rare disease that led to Cash’s death, but what is known is that he is the third child in central west Queensland to die from it.

And tonight, Australian Story looks at the amoeba that could be lurking in the water at many Australian rural homes.

“It’s rare but it’s deadly,” clinical microbiologist Dr Robert Norton tells the program.

“It’s something that rural Australia needs to be aware of.”

Naegleria fowleri thrives in fresh, warm water more than 25C. It’s caused at least 300 deaths worldwide, and at least 25 in Australia, and causes severe inflammation and brain destruction when contracted through the nose.

Mrs Keough said that’s exactly how her “very happy little boy”, Cash, became infected. She thinks it happened as he played with a garden hose on a hot day.