A California mom is seeking to raise awareness of the lethal brain-eating amoeba that killed her newlywed daughter last fall.
A Facebook page set up in the young woman's memory tells the story: Koral Reef Meister Pier was just 20 years old when she started developing mysterious symptoms in 2013. Described as "bubbly, energetic... healthy and athletic," she had married her high school sweetheart and was planning to attend culinary school. By last summer, she was increasingly troubled by headaches, nausea, neck pain and fatigue. Her vision started to get blurry and she grew increasingly weak.
It finally got so bad that in late September she went to the emergency room at Temecula Valley Hospital, near her home in Southern California, where an MRI turned up evidence of lesions in her brain. She was transferred to another hospital's intensive care unit for specialized neurological treatment, but her condition took a turn for the worse. By early October she was suffering from numbness, loss of mobility, headaches, rapid heart rate, vomiting and memory loss, and surgeons had to remove a piece of her skull to relieve the pressure on her swollen brain.
Only then did they diagnose what was causing these devastating symptoms: an amoeba known as Balamuthia mandrillaris, which can be found naturally in the soil and possibly the water in warm climates such as the southwestern United States.
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