Brain-Eating Amoeba can be found in Various Water (Wells, Hot Springs, Rivers, Lakes, Tap and more)
Warm weather and everywhere people flock to the water – for swimming, splashing, diving, tubing, water-skiing, etc – but for those who look to fresh waters such as hot springs, rivers, lakes, ponds, untreated pools, and even their own tap water for example, as spots for recreation – the knowledge of a deadly amoeba potentially/possibly in the water you play in – is cause to think about whether you let that water into your nasal passages.
The amoeba is almost always deadly if it infects someone and seems relatively prevalent in freshwater enough so that I’m changing my behavior…and the thing is, I never even thought about it till now. Never would I have considered avoiding getting water in/up my nose when recreating or for personal hygiene.
Thus, I am sharing what I’ve learned with others in this blog. I consider knowledge to be power – and being informed as I now am will affect whether/when etc. I will accept freshwater entering my nasal passages.
For me, I’ve changed hygiene habits of previously using water from my tap (well) in the nose/sinuses for cleansing, and I’m going to give thought to where I’ll recreate in water and whether I allow said water in my nose as in swimming/splashing/etc. in freshwater which is untreated.
Frankly, for myself, I have decided I am not going to swim/submerge my nose into warm untreated freshwater knowing what I know now. And I will never use my tap water for any type of nasal/sinus irrigation or cleansing or dunk my head into/under my bath water nor will I cup water into my nose at the sink anymore. (Ocean beaches/ocean water and properly maintained/treated/chlorinated properly pools sound safer to me – so that’s where I’d now play in water to the degree I’d get water in/up my nose.)
After hearing the news story about the two people who died from using water for nasal/sinus hygiene irrigation in a neti pot, I recently looked up the story and learned it was due to the Naegleria fowleri amoeba/protozoa. I then wondered about whether that amoeba can be present in other types water – when, where, and under what circumstances could it infect someone.
After reading on the subject, I learned that the brain eating amoeba can be found in fresh water including well water, hot springs, lakes, ponds, rivers, etc.
As many of us enjoy recreating in water (and some of us, such as myself, use well water for all home uses including bathing, of course), I thought I’d share some of the links for those of you who aren’t familiar with this risk.
From these articles, I learned that people have died contracting the amoeba from activities such as bathing, swimming, and nasal/sinus irrigation. Those who dive into water was particularly mentioned as the force sends the water into the nose. I read of children dying from the water they bathed in. Whatever the variables affecting why some are infected, I find it worthy of thoughtful consideration.
I share these links for those unfamiliar with this subject. These articles share of deaths caused by it, tips to lower the risks-different links below mention variety of suggestions/tips….
like nose clips are mentioned and other tips to keep such water from being propelled up the nose or not disturbing sediment/soil, months of greater increased risks, types of waters it’s been found in, occurrence in wells, etc. Each of the articles provided interesting and informative details, so I share all the links I read from for those interested in learning more (I d recommend clicking each link if you are someone who uses such water in your home or if you recreate in it elsewhere-as at each link I learned much more):
Informative link–lots of quick information – learn much quickly here-highly recommend reading this:
and then these links were informative, interesting, and answered questions I had in mind:
Family Warns Swimmers About Brain-Eating Amoeba http://www.livescience.com/15645-brain-eating-amoeba.html
Brain-eating amoebas blamed in three deaths http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/08/17/amoeba.kids.deaths/index.html
Naegleria Fowleri -warm freshwater lakes and rivers
Neti pot danger? Two die from amoeba infection http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/20/news/la-heb-neti-pot-amoeba-20111220
Brain-Eating Amoeba FAQ http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20110818/brain-eating-amoeba-faq
Harmful Water-Based Amoeba in the News Again By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, Ph.D.–
This is a very informative article including info on child deaths from tap bathtub water cases–http://www.wcponline.com/pdf/0711On_Tap.pdf
Naegleria fowleri in Well Water http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2603111/
Brain-Eating Amoeba Thrives in Warm, Fresh Water -The dangerous amoeba has killed three people this summer. Here’s what you should know about it.
Brain-Eating Amoeba Strikes in Summer-Six Deaths in 2007 From Amoeba in Warm Fresh Water http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20080529/brain-eating-amoeba-strikes-in-summer?page=2
How to Avoid the Brain-Eating Amoeba
Naegleria fowleri- From Wikipedia-lots of information and many links (and to articles about deaths nationwide) pertaining to this topic are here at Wikipedia:
Brain-eating amoeba parasite spreads to tap water
Warning to South Floridians: Deadly Amoeba Risk in Poorly Maintained Swimming Pools…& Health officials: Avoid swimming in lakes because of deadly amoeba
Teen in Florida dies from Naegleria ameba infection http://pediatrics.about.com/b/2011/08/14/teen-in-florida-dies-from-naegleria-ameba-infection.htm
Brain Eating Amoeba: Naegleria fowleri http://www.medicinenet.com/brain_eating_amoeba_symptoms_naegleria_fowleri/views.htm
CDC- Naegleria FAQs http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/faqs.html
Can you get Naegleria Fowleri via your ear?
Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis — Arizona, Florida, and Texas, 2007 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5721a1.htm