On Thursday, an announcement was made that deadly amoebas which can potentially damage the brain have been found in Louisiana’s water supply. The name of the amoeba is Naegleria fowleri, and it breeds on neti pots, lakes, swimming holes and hot springs. According to officials, the drinking water it is in is quite safe; however, if it goes up the nostrils, then it can be a serious issue. As Dr. Clayton Wiley, who is the Director of division of neuropathology at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center said, “If it gets in your brain, then you’re hosed.”
Fortunately infections of this kind are quite rare and till 1962 there have been only 132 cases. There is however, one bad news, almost all the cases were fatal and only three people survived.
Drinking water infected with this amoeba is not going to harm you because the stomach acids kill them. Care has to be taken that the water does not reach your nose, otherwise if it goes up to the brain through the nose. As Dr. Nicole Iovine, who is a doctor of infectious disease and the Director of the Antimicrobial Management Program at University of Florida said, “They can literally travel up these nerve cells like they’re on a highway and get into the brain,”, “That’s really where they do the most significant damage.”
Once it reaches the brain and starts reproducing, it will be immune to the white blood cells. Dr. Wiley remarked, “If you had it live under a microscope, you can watch it wander around and absolutely destroy cells.” Those with face injuries are at greater risk and of course children.