Naegleria fowleri: Brain Eating Amoeba

Naegleria fowleri is a single celled amoeba. It is also called the brain-eating Amoeba. The amoeba is now rapidly spreading in the US. The news comes after a mysterious disease called Eluru was discovered in the districts of Andhra Pradesh.

About Naegleria fowleri

Naegleria fowleri was first traced in the southern parts of USA. The strain rapidly developed in the northern parts due to favourable climatic conditions. As the name suggest, the amoeba has potential to damage the vital parts of the body, especially the human brain, and cause large scale inflammation.

The amoeba is usually found in warm fresh water. However, the climatic changes have helped the amoeba to spread even during winter. It multiplies rapidly at forty-six degree Celsius.

The amoeba is usually found in rivers, lakes and causes infection called Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis. It is also called PAM and can be fatal.

Current Scenario

The infection is till rare. Around thirty-four cases have been detected so far in the last ten years according to Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As the amoeba easily transmits through water, it is now spreading through the acts of swimming and deep-water diving.

How does it infect the Humans?

The symptoms of PAM start to occur after twenty-four hours the amoeba entered the human body. The most common early symptom of the infection is head ache. The other symptoms are vomiting, fever, nausea, seizures, dizziness, stiff neck, etc. The amoeba enters the human body through nose. It reaches the brain from the nose, where it feeds on the brain tissues. The unique fact about the amoeba is that it does not cause harm to the human body if it enters through the mouth. Thus, a person does not get infected by PAM by drinking contaminated water.

The Amoeba enters the human body from inadequately chlorinated swimming pools, contaminated tap water.

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