Naegleria fowleri

Not all living creatures die. An amoeba, for example, need never die; it need not even, like certain generals, fade away. It just divides and becomes two new amoebas - George Wald

Naegleria fowleri

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What Happens When an Amoeba “Eats” Your Brain?

The organism responsible, Naegleria fowleri, dwells in warm freshwater lakes and rivers and usually targets children and young adults. Once in the brain it causes a swelling called primary meningoencephalitis. The infection is almost universally fatal: it kills more than 97 percent of its victims within days.

Although deadly, infections are exceedingly uncommon—there were only 34 reported in the U.S. during the past 10 years—but evidence suggests they may be increasing. Prior to 2010 more than half of cases came from Florida, Texas and other southern states. Since then, however, infections have popped up as far north as Minnesota.

“We’re seeing it in states where…

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Last Updated : Wednesday, September 25, 2019