Experimental drug used to treat "brain eating" amoeba

FOX 46 Charlotte has learned a lot about the “brain eating” amoeba. It's an illness that can mimic several others especially Bacterial Meningitis. 

The only way to find out if you're infected is through a spinal tap.

LATEST: CDC: Whitewater Center filtration systems 'inadequate' to prevent amoeba that killed teen

According to experts the "brain eating" amoeba can be found in any warm freshwater or even unfiltered water, and can even live in the soil. FOX 46 also learned in can migrate easily into your system but take up to 10 days to spread and attack your brain.

"Once you have the diagnosis...it's fatal in most cases and it progresses rapidly, like in five days. Five to six days you can have significant destruction," Dr. Anupama Neelakanta, an infectious Specialist at CMC Pineville, said. 

However, health specialists still don’t know much about it, other than there's a section in the nasal cavity where the amoeba can easily go straight to your brain.

"Many people are exposed to this potentially but only a few people get infected. I don't think we know what are the predisposing factors. But they think things like diving or sudden splash of water hitting inside of your nose might be risk factors," Dr. Neelakanta exlained. 

Two of the three known survivors were treated with the experimental drug called Miltefosine. If symptoms were caught early sometimes it prevented major brain damage from occurring.

It's a drug still in the experimental stages and even doctors admit there are no guarantees.

"Apply the medication as soon as possible. There might be some chances but again it's only been three cases that have had survival and two of those have received this drug. So it's very small numbers we are talking about," Dr. Neelakanta said. 

The Charlotte Medical Center doesn't have this drug in stock due to the fact that the cases are so rare. But residents can call the CDC's hotline to get the drug if they need it. 

UPDATE: U.S. National Whitewater Center tests positive for brain-eating amoeba, officials say

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