What is the brain-eating amoeba?

What is the brain-eating amoeba?

September 27, 2020

NAEGLERIA fowleri is a parasite that can cause a fatal brain infection.

Commonly referred to as the "brain-eating amoeba," naegleria fowleri is a parasite that develops into Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis, which can burn through a person and kill them in under two weeks.

What is brain-eating amoeba?

Naegleria fowleri, commonly referred to as the "brain-eating amoeba," is a free-living microscopic amoeba that can cause devastating brain disease.

The parasite enters through the nose and into the brain where it turns into Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM), which is a disease of the central nervous system.

According to the CDC, the parasite is commonly found in warm freshwater (e.g. lakes, rivers, and hot springs) and soil.

The parasite, when it enters the body, is typically fatal.

Children and younger people are believed to be more at risk.

What are the symptoms of brain eating amoeba?

The infection commonly occurs when people go swimming or diving in fresh, warm water places such as lakes or rivers.

In rare cases, infections can occur from swimming in poorly chlorinated pools and consuming contaminated tap water.

Symptoms of contracting Naegleria fowleri present themselves in stages.

Stage one includes severe frontal headache, fever, nausea, vomiting.

Stage two includes a stiff neck, seizures, altered mental status, hallucinations, and a possible coma.

What states have brain eating amoeba?

Brain-eating amoebas have recently been found eight coastal Texas cities southwest of Houston, as well as northern Florida.

Tests confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri in the public water system in Lake Jackson as residents were urged not drink from their taps.

Freeport, Angleton, Brazoria, Richwood, Oyster Creek, Clute, and Rosenberg were warned along with Lake Jackson.

Josiah McIntyre, six, was killed after Texan authorities declared a disaster after finding traces of the deadly amoeba in the water supply.

Josiah died after he had played at the civic center splash pad and with the hose in the family garden in late August.

In North Florida, Tanner Lake Wall, 13, was on vacation with his friends and family at a campground when he got sick. 

Wall became ill after two days of swimming, and died on August 2. 

“Nausea, vomiting, pretty bad headaches,” his father Travis Wall told News4Jax of the symptoms. 

Similarly, an elderly gentleman in Georgia died after the shape-shifting amoeba turned his brain "into mushy liquid."

How common are brain-eating amoebas?

From 1962 to 2018, there were only 145 people known to have contracted the amoeba – with only four of them surviving.

Infections are rare the US, with 34 cases reported between 2009 and 2018.

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