When 6-year-old Leland Shoemake suddenly started complaining of headaches, his parents, Amber and Tim, knew something was wrong, they just didn’t expect it to be so serious.
Doctors discovered that Leland had contracted Balamuthia mandrillaris, a free-living amoeba which can cause serious infection of the brain and spinal cord. While rare, this amoeba is able to enter the body when soil containing Balamuthia comes in contact with wounds and cuts.
Doctors immediately started treating Leland at the hospital, but his symptoms kept worsening.
In a Facebook page the family created to keep their community updated, Amber wrote, “He’s being kept sedated but his pressures keep spiking. They did a CT and it shows swelling in the brain and decreased overall quality of his brain. Also it looked like the infection has gotten worse. I’m broken.”