Sharks? Alligators? Worry about amoebas!

People who kayak in Florida are aware of sharks and alligators posing a danger to ones’ life.  Unfortunately, a killer lurks in shallow water that is unnaturally warm and sometimes around power plants.  It is the Naegleria fowleri, commonly known as an Amoeba.  It does not sound scary but an amoeba can get into a person’s nose and cause an infection in the brain and spinal cord.

“Amoebae that live in warm water, soil, and vegetation around the world. N. fowleri may infect humans when water is forced into the nose by diving or jumping into, or swimming underwater in warm, fresh water, stagnant ponds, or lakes, or inadequately maintained public heated swimming pools.  Springs are considered safe because their water temperature consistently remains below 80 degrees, and the organisms need hotter water to thrive.  Once the amoebae enter into the nose, they travel to the brain, causing a disease called Primary Amoebic Meningitis (PAM).  It is a very rare, but serious, disease with a 95% mortality rate, and has been linked to more than 180 deaths worldwide since it was identified in 1965.  It cannot be spread from person to person.”

amoebaeAnother death caused by an amoeba infection prompted this post.  If you are planning to practice your wet exit, self-rescue, and rolls, think about using nose plugs.


More information about amoeba infection, Primary Amoebic Meningitis, caused by Naegleria fowleri…


Amoeba blamed for swimming death in Florida, By Barbara Liston, ORLANDO, Fla | Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:20pm EDT, (Reuters) – A dangerous amoeba that thrives in warm, freshwater bodies in the heat of summer caused the recent death of a 16-year-old Central Florida girl, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control confirmed on Monday.

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