After Ebola People are Skeptical about Brain Eating Amoeba

Photo of author

( — January 27, 2015)  — Deadly brain-eating amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri, killed a boy in Louisiana, from contaminated tap water, researcher concluded. Prior victims were infected after swimming in warm bodies of freshwater, however, the tap water case means only that new cases will emerge.

Naegleria fowleri is called the brain-eating amoeba because it can digest neural tissues. It could find its way to the brain via the nasal passages, researches say. Once there the amoeba eats its way through thin bone between the sinuses and the brain to form an infection. The process results in swelling of the brain which is a fatal condition called Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis or PAM.

The Louisiana boy was diagnosed in 2013 after he died, but not until recently, the doctors discovered the amoeba was in the tap water. He was the first confirmed case to have been triggered by tap or faucet water, and not freshwater immersion, according to study author Jennifer Cope, a medical epidemiologist for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Warnings that a new serious threat is endangering people in the US, left people with disbelief.  “This sounds like the script for a CIA-inspired scaremongering plot,” one reader posted a comment. “A worthy successor to Ebola and perfectly timed…. Don’t believe a word of it,” he wrote.

“This is a free-living amoeba that doesn’t have to infect anybody, it’s perfectly happy feeding on bacteria,” posted another. “Americans – Bacteria Brain? It must be from watching Fox and CNN,” he added.

People don’t appear to be scared by this alarming story. “The 1st time I ever saw a warning sign posted was in front of the most beautiful cave-springs south of the Hoover Dam. I thought 1 second and jumped in! Send me back,” wrote one women.

Of course, there are others who understand the danger and blame it on conspiracies. “I have never heard anything about this before but it makes me wonder about fracking and all the chemicals that are used in fracking, are they getting into the water table, who knows,” a man posted as a comment.

Nonetheless, researchers warn Naegleria fowleri is a growing threat, though PAM kills up to eight people per year in the US, usually males with a median age of 12. Influenza kills far more people annually in the US, than PAM according to statistics, though the CDC does not know exactly how many people die from the seasonal flu each year, experts say.