An extremely dangerous species of amoeba, Naegleria fowleri has been responsible for two incidents in the recent past, including a case of a 29-year-old man from New Jersey who died after he got infected by this amoeba in Texas.
The case of a New Jersey man
The first incident took place last month in Texas, when Fabrizio Stabile, originally from New Jersey, ingested the killer amoeba in a wave pool. Unfortunately, he died of the illness on September 16th, as it is stated on a GoFundMe page that was created in order to establish a foundation in his name, which would raise awareness of this extremely deadly infection.
The deadly amoeba was also found in Louisiana
The surf resort where the man got infected is currently closed until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) completes its investigation.
Ten days after Stabile’s death, Naegleria fowleri was identified near Shreveport, Louisiana in the water system. This discovery was made due to a safety and health test of the water environment.
The amoeba that destroys the brain
The infection with Naegleria fowleri leads to primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), an illness that causes the destruction of brain tissue and is fatal in more than 97% of cases. The symptoms of PAM are very similar to those of bacterial meningitis: fever, nausea and headache. Once the first signs of illness appear, it only takes up to five days for the amoeba to destroy the brain and kill the patient.
According to CDC, drinking water contaminated with Naegleria fowleri does not pose a threat of the deadly infection. However, this amoeba can enter the body and get to the brain through the nose in contaminated water, either in a swimming pool or while rinsing the sinus with tap water.