JUN 27, 2016 11:35 AM PDT

Amoeba Infection Kills Ohio Teenager

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

An Ohio teenager died last week after contracting a brain-eating amoeba called Naegleria fowleri while rafting at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) in Charlotte. The microbe causes an infection, Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has publicly available information on this amoeba. A lover of high temperatures, it is normally found in freshwater environments like rivers and lakes and resides in bodies of water around the world, but is not found in saltwater.

The PAM infection, while rare, is extremely deadly. Of the 138 infections in the U.S. reported to the CDC from 1962-2015, all but three were fatal. After the amoeba enters the body through the nose, it migrates to the brain via the olfactory nerve and begins to destroy tissue there.

The PAM infection has never been found to have spread from person to person. Drinking contaminated water does not cause PAM infection either. It is still unknown why some people get infected by Naegleria fowleri while people who swam along with them remain free of infection. There could be a certain level of amoeba required for infection to occur, but that is unknown and no method currently exists to measure the amount of amoeba that are present in water.

The USNWC has issued a press release stating that after conferring with the CDC and local health officials, all whitewater activities there are temporarily suspended effective immediately.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
NOV 13, 2018
Technology
NOV 13, 2018
Here's Why Hydrogen-Powered Cars Haven't Become Mainstream
The automobile industry today is still dominated by gasoline-powered vehicles, but electric cars like those from Tesla are gaining a lot of traction in the...
NOV 15, 2018
Cardiology
NOV 15, 2018
An Updated Look At Pacemakers
As pacemakers are now used for a wide range of heart conditions, most of us know someone who has this life-saving medical device. Hundreds of thousands of...
NOV 26, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 26, 2018
Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Infections in Tattoos
Contracting an infection when getting a tattoo is always a major concern. Consumers should be aware of the risk of developing infections with bloodborne pa...
NOV 27, 2018
Videos
NOV 27, 2018
Here's how we should fix icy roads
As winter makes its presence known this year, it's time that we begin thinking of new ways to deal with the ice and snow that it brings not only to our...
DEC 05, 2018
Videos
DEC 05, 2018
Male Contraceptive Gel is in Clinical Trials
Researchers have started a clinical trial involving 420 participants to test the efficacy of a male contraceptive gel....
DEC 06, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 06, 2018
Rare Uranium Compounds Capable of High-temperature Superconductivity at Near Normal Pressure
Uranium is often associated with nuclear fuel materials, but very soon they could be used to power a new wave of industrial revolution. Scientists from Rus...
Loading Comments...