Brain eating amoeba threat grows in hot weather

Brain eating amoeba threat grows in hot weather

TYLER (KYTX) - As the heat intensifies, a microscopic threat continues to grows inside lakes, rivers and other slow moving bodies of water. The brain eating amoeba is organism that doesn't infect many -- but when it does, it's almost always deadly. It's claimed nearly 30 lives in texas in the past 30 years.

CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey explains what the amoeba is, and how to keep your family safe on those trips to the lake.

When it's play time in the water, your kids most likely aren't concerned about the brain eating amoeba that could be in the water with them...

"That's my biggest concern making sure they don't get out too far."

And some parents aren't likely thinking about it either. Wendy Dezavala usually takes her children to the swimming pool, but sometimes, she changes things up..

"We can bring our dogs and just enjoy the lake, things we can't normally do at the pool we can bring our pets," she said.

The brain eating amoeba is called naegleria fowleri -- and the Texas Department of State Health Services says it grows in lakes, rivers and ponds -- any still or slow moving water. And when that water gets hot in the summer sun, the organism becomes more active and multiplies.

"This organism the way it infects the brain, it actually travels up a particular nerve, up into the brain," said Chris Van Deusen with the TDSHS.

The brain eating amoeba can only infect someone through the nasal cavity...that's why when it comes to your kids, experts advise against inhaling lake water.

Specialists aren't advising against coming to the lake, however they say if you are going to bring yourself or your children and you plan on diving in, make sure your either hold your nose or get nose guards to keep that water from going too far up.

Van Duesen said, "It's a very serious infection, it's almost always fatal.. That's why we do encourage people to take some precautions."

"I think people need to know this is a real issue and a little more education on it would be good," said Dezavala.

The organism itself is very common, however infections are rare, averaging less than one case a year in Texas.

In the past 50 years, only 132 people have been infected in the US, however, only three of those people survived.

Last year a 12-year old survived thanks to early detection. The symptoms include sudden headache, fever with nausea or vomiting. The symptoms typically show up within a week of infection.


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