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Alert! This brain-eating amoeba lives in your water heater and swimming pool…

A 36-year-old man in northern Israel was killed by an arare infection caused by a one-cell amoeba that is said to feast on the human brain. The man was diagnosed with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a fatal brain infection caused by the brain-eating amoeba Naegleria Fowleri. This amoeba can be found in stagnant water sources. The Poriya Medical Center in Tiberias discovered the case. What exactly is Naegleria Fowleri? What precisely is amoebic meningoencephalitis?

Primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM)  is a rare brain infection caused by Naegleria fowleri. It usually ends with the host’s death. It is extremely rare to find amoeba in humans. This amoeba thrives in warm freshwater environments such as lakes, rivers, hot springs, industrial waste, natural water sources, poorly maintained or unchlorinated swimming pools, and even water heaters. It does not inhabit the sea.

Amoeba Naegleria is a very uncommon microorganism. It almost always kills, however. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 148 such cases were discovered in the country between 1962 and 2019. 34 infections were discovered in the last ten years, with only three people surviving despite treatment. It requires a temperature of more than 46 degrees Celcius. It can’t be seen without a microscope.

Naegleria fowleri infects people by entering the body through the nose. The majority of those infected contract the amoeba while swimming. It travels up the nose and destroys brain tissue. Headache, fever, nausea, stiff neck, loss of balance, seizures, and hallucinations are among the symptoms. The disease kills the host within five days of exhibiting brain-related symptoms. The infection has no cure. It cannot spread from person to person through contact or by drinking contaminated water.


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