This scary organism can get to your brain through your nose while you're out swimming, and it causes some very unpleasant symptoms -- an even death.
We recently reported on the alarming finding that the community of St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana has found a brain-eating amoeba in the drinking water used in the region, a rather terrifying discovery that has caused authorities there to scramble and take action. But what exactly is this brain-eating amoeba — Naegleria fowleri — and what makes it so dangerous?
It’s definitely a big enough concern to cause the local water authority to start a chlorine “burn” at the location, which would involve increasing chlorine levels up to the rate that would cause the amoeba to be killed off, according to Examiner.com.
The Naegleria fowleri amoeba is typically found in warm and fresh water. It is a microscopic organism that can result in a potentially deadly infection that is known as amebic meningoencephalitis, which people sometimes get by ingesting water through their nose while swimming in the water. Fortunately, you can’t get it by drinking water.
In addition to being found in warm freshwater like lakes and rivers, it can also be found in the soil.
The amoeba wreaks havoc once it gets into the body. It travels straight to the brain where it causes this deadly ailment, one that is very often fatal.
This organism was first discovered in 1965 in Australia. It takes three forms: as a cyst, an ameboid, and a flagellate.
Some of the first symptoms that you may be infected by the organism and are starting to see the early stages of PAM include headache, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, seizures, and even a coma. Unfortunately, it shares a lot of symptoms common to many ailments, so diagnosis is often difficult, and it may resemble viral meningitis.