Brain-eating amoeba appears on the rise at a NC water park

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A brain-eating amoeba appears on the rise in a NC water park

Naegleria fowleri

Image Courtesy of Dr. Francine Marciano-Capral of Virginia Commonwealth University

The now infamous brain-eating bacteria, Naegleria fowleri, has been discovered in significant amounts at a North Carolina water park according to CNN. A teen died at the same location just a few weeks ago, at the National Whitewater Center just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina.

There are a number of species of amoeba that can enter the body and feed on the human brain. Naegleria fowli is one of them. This ameoba is commonly found in warm freshwater areas and even the soil. This organism makes its way into your body via open wounds but most often, the nasal passage is the entry point. It quickly makes its way to the brain where it replicates and feeds. They feed until the host dies. Unlike some other brain-eating species such as Balamuthia mandrillaris which can feed for months before symptoms appear. Naegleria fowli can kill its host in 5 days!

Please do not put water up the nose intentionally and pool owners should make sure pool is heavily sterilized if sitting stagnant for a while. Nose plugs are suggested by some awareness groups if swimming in unfamiliar water. Symptoms include, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, seizures. The loss of sense of taste and/or touch is usually sign of severe infection and usually occurs after about 5 days of infection. Death is usually the outcome at this level of progression. That said, the CDC reports that, of those exposed to the amoeba, only about 1 out of 200,000 will die.

More about these deadly amoebae here: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/

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